Chicken People is an interesting behind the scenes glimpse into the world of competitive show chickens. This 2016 released documentary follows the lives and chicken-breeding efforts of three individuals hoping to show the winning bird at the Ohio National Poultry Show. To provide some context, the Ohio National is arguably the most competitive and important annual poultry show in the United States. Started in 1956 by the Ohio Poultry Breeders Club, the Ohio National is not the oldest American poultry competition. However, this show is likely the largest poultry show with no less the 5,500 entries every year. In 2002, the last joint American Poultry Association and American Bantam Association show at the Ohio National there were 9,700 adult competition entries and 1,120 youth entries, making it the largest youth poultry competition held. This is the ultimate battleground for poultry showmen and show women to test their chicken breeding skills against the best in the nation, and the heart of this documentary film profiling three individuals hoping to breed and show a bird worthy of the Ohio National top prize — best in show.
Chicken People does a good job of showing the dedication and simple love of chickens that the competitors all share in common in a manner that is often funny and charming. The short vignettes of other various chicken enthusiasts are particularly amusing and quite relatable to those who of us who keep chickens.
The film also provides insight into the science behind breeding award-winning birds and how differently each of the profiled competitors approaches creating the perfect bird. The first edition of the “American Standard of Perfection” was published in 1874 and is still the ultimate bible in breeding and judging poultry. The film deftly educates about the rigors of breeding to the Standard of Perfection and lets the audience see firsthand how poultry show judges apply that gospel when rating the quality of the birds with their own human interpretations.
Though humorous in parts, the movie also reveals some of the human frailties each of its subjects. These three Ohio National contenders share moments of profound self-doubt, dedication to their craft that borders on obsession, and strain upon their personal relationships caused directly or collaterally by the driving desire to win this chicken show. At times during the film, the audience is left wondering whether winning the Ohio National is worth the cost. However, the realization then sets in that perhaps, as in any field, greatness only comes with great single-mindedness and sacrifice.
The movie is definitely worth watching regardless if you ever plan to competitively show your own chickens. WATCH FOR FREE NOW — the Chicken People movie is currently available to watch streaming on-line for free at Amazon Prime videos, which is a free service provided to all Amazon Prime members.
- Chicken People – Official Movie Website LINK
- Chicken People Documentary — DVD for sale
- Ohio National Poultry Show — Official Website LINK
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