Lamona History Essay

Discussion in 'Breeds & Genetics' started by Steinwand, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Steinwand

    Steinwand Well-Known Member

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    Lamona a Breed in Retrospect

    The purpose of this essay is to raise awareness of this breeds unique history and unsure future. As it returns from extinction back into our backyard coops.

    In 1912, working as senior poultry man at Harry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research center in Beltsville, Maryland, Harry M. Lamon had the vision to create the ultimate duel-purpose chicken breed in the world. He started with Silver Gray dorking, White Plymouth Rocks, and White leghorns. His goals were to create a bird that exhibited white feathers, yellow skin, and red earlobes, with a large carcass and stellar egg production and after one year of productive egg laying still be relatively tender for meat.

    Thus began the 16 year breeding operation, in 1928 the breed was complete and the USDA secretary named this stunning new breed after its creator. In 1933 the American Poultry Association accepted this breed into the American Standard of perfection, one of the few American breeds that has this great distinction.

    Because of their excellent production characteristics they were initially very popular. Some magazines going as far as to say "chicken of tomorrow". Lamons breeding skills were impeccable although his timing was less so.. Around 1935 two single purpose breeds recently bred for intensive production climbed to the top. The Leghorn being intensively bred just for egg production and the Cornish rock cross being bred just for meat. Intensively bred strains of leghorn and Cornish Rock crosses could out produce the Lamona, making them the obvious choice for farmers.

    In 1950 with the growing population and increased demand for cheap food the Lamona population took a dive. By 1970 the Lamona was reduced to critical numbers with only a few hardcore breeders keeping them from total extinction.

    One of these dedicated breeders was Steve Gerdes who had been showing Lamonas since the 1960s.

    And in 1978 one of his Lamona hens won grand champion in the American class. He is said to be one of the top Lamona experts at the later half of the 20th century and early 21st century.

    At this time, Lamona history is little known some say it went extinct in 1980, others report that the last two remaining flocks died in a barn fire and a weasel attack. On the livestock conservancy website, they hint that they had located two flocks of authentic lineage in 2005.At the turn of the century Steve Gerdes decided to recreate the breed from scratch.

    At best recreated breeds are just a shadowy glimpse at the real deal, but Lamons meticulous records created an exact recipe for Gerdes in his mission to recreate the Lamona. Using Silver Gray Dorkings, White Plymouth Rocks, White leghorns, and Lamons records he not only created a similar version of the Lamona but a genetic mirror of it. With his experience the recreated Lamona looked, and produced like the original pre 1980s stock. His mission was complete.

    Steve Gerdes sadly passed away several years ago but left his then existing flock to his son who fortunately sold a trio too Greenfire Farms in Florida. They have been breeding the birds and now offer them for sale. On their website they state that they have shown them at multiple APA sanctioned shows and the judges have accepted them as Lamonas also awarding them ribbons. Will the Lamona suffer a third extinction? None can tell.

    In closing, this is not just a chicken breed that needs saving but two men's legacies Lamon the original creator and Gerdes the preserver. Both men saw something worth saving. Now, it's our turn to build on that legacy to be one of the few Americans who have ever seen, let alone owned, that ghostly legend of
    American poultry, the Lamona.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2018
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  2. Steinwand

    Steinwand Well-Known Member

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    Thats not the format I wanted to post it in whoops, Anyway does it sound over dramatic?
     

  3. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Not at all. It sounds very similar to something else I read about them. As long as people have access to them there are groups out there that are dedicated to rescuing the breeds in threat of disappearing.

    The loss of the two flocks is a good example of why you don't put all your eggs in one basket. They were too condensed into a just a couple of areas leaving them open to being wiped out.

    I'll fix your formatting for you, although it's not like it was all one paragraph, those are hard to read.
     
  4. Steinwand

    Steinwand Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I find it annoying when breeders of rare poultry don't sell them at lower prices what's more important the breed or the money now I completely understand if it's a company like Greenfire ofc they need to make money but when small hobby breeders charge exorbitant sums its rediculous or when they don't sell at all
     
  5. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    They charge large sums in the early going because what they achieved in their flocks cost them a great deal of money. Once a particular breed/type of bird is established it's easier to keep the line going having so many out in the world.

    The girl in my avatar is a near perfect bird according to the standards. That didn't happen by accident, it took a lot of work, it took money to get her to that point.
     
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  6. Sylie

    Sylie Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I thought the essay was awesome, I learned a couple of things from it, Thank you Steinwand! I realize this was a year ago but I just found it lol.
     
  7. Maryellen

    Maryellen Well-Known Member

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