FOR Jeff Thompson, of Goonellabah, 2015 means 50 years of feathery friends.

As of March, Mr Thompson has been showing poultry for 50 years, and is keen to celebrate his golden year on the show circuit with the Lismore Poultry Club Annual Show next month.

"I've been around shows my whole life," Mr Thompson said.

He grew up watching his father show pigs.

While he's cut back to only having 50 birds, Mr Thompson's record was breeding 600 poultry in one year.

PROUD: Jeff Thompson, of Goonellabah, with one of his award-winning birds.
PROUD: Jeff Thompson, of Goonellabah, with one of his award-winning birds. Nolan Verheij-Full

As well as showing poultry, Mr Thompson - who is the Lismore Poultry Club Show secretary and North Coast National Poultry Division secretary - also shows plants and is a horse judge, so it's fair to say he lives and breathes country shows.

While he's had many breeds of poultry, his soft spot is for Leghorns.

"They're a light breed fowl from Italy, the Mediterranean," he said. "They are a bit flighty, but once you handle them, they settle down."

Mr Thompson's first show was the Tamworth Ag Show in 1965, where he got two first places and a second - a good result for a first timer.

Since then he's had some wonderful highlights.

In one year in the 1980s he was awarded Champion Bird in Show at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, and Champion Bird in Show at the Leghorn Club Show. He also held the role of the superintendent of the Poultry Pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show for 21 years.

It's the atmosphere and the friendship that he loves about showing poultry.

"It's a good little hobby to get into, and it's good for kids - gives them something to do," he said.

The Lismore Poultry Club Annual Show is on June 7.



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