King of the coop

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By Monique Roth

GRAMERCY – The St. James Parish Welcome Center was recently transformed into one huge chicken coop as the site hosted the 10th annual Serama Cajun Classic.

Breeders from Louisiana and nine other states, including Oregon, Washington, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida and California, all gathered in St. James Parish for the competition and showcase. 

Vacherie resident Jerry Schexnayder, president of the National Serama Council of North America, said the Serama is the smallest and lightest bantam chicken in the world and highly prized as a living work of art. 

The weight of a Serama chicken ranges from 8 to 16 ounces for hens and from 10 to 19 ounces for cocks. The Serama originated in Malaysia and is the result of selective cross breeding of several breeds. There are three different variations of Serama chickens, including American, Malaysian and traditional.

Schexnayder said he owns the largest, pure-blood, USDA Certified flock of Serama in the world, and the Serama breed arrived in North America in large part because of Schexnayder. 

In  2001, he and an Illi–nois resident both imported birds from Malaysia. His original flock of 135 birds was hand-selected from throughout Malaysia to provide the greatest genetic diversity possible. 

Schexnayder envisioned the creation of a Serama council of expert poultry breeders to assure the future of this breed in North America. Serama poultry were introduced to the American public in three 2001 bird shows. Schexnayder established a non-profit corporation in 2003 and the first ever Serama show in the U.S. was held in conjunction with the Ohio National in 2003. The following spring a Serama-only show, the first Cajun Classic, was held in Baton Rouge.