The second Ellis County Poultry Trades Day will be held Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Ellis County Expo Center. The community is invited to stop by the event, which will have almost 100 vendors on hand.

The event is the brainchild of local poultry enthusiast Kelly Trice, who saw the need for a local way in which people could learn more about poultry and purchase stock. It was a void she recognized when she found herself making extended road trips to find what she needed in the way of poultry and supplies.

“We would leave at 3 a.m. to make it [to another county’s event] early enough so we didn’t miss out on the birds we wanted to get. It can sell out fast!” she said. “So, while I was planning my new flock acquisitions, I was simultaneously dreading the six hours round trip drive coming up. That lead to thoughts about why we didn’t have an event like that here in Ellis County.”

The motivated Trice likes coordinating projects – and it didn’t take her long to dive off into planning what would become Ellis County Poultry Trades Day, from a place to hold it, to insurance and other logistics.  

“Then I polled a few DFW and Ellis County chicken Facebook groups about the event and the response was overwhelming,” she said. “That pretty much sealed my fate, and the Ellis County Poultry Trades Day was hatched.”

Trice says she was blown away by how well received the first event was this past spring. While she expected a decent turnout, her expectations were met and surpassed.

“We tried to take a head count, but it quickly got out of control,” she said. “We are estimating about 1,700 attendees were at the first event. They seemed really excited to have so many breeds of chicks, chickens, ducks, geese, quail, goats, rabbits all in one place. We had vendors leave early because they sold out so quickly.”

She said they would have been happy with 40 vendors for the first event but ended up with 81 plus four food trucks. Those numbers are already exceeded going into the second event this Saturday.

“We have 91 vendors and five food trucks for this upcoming event, and we would be thrilled to hit 2,000 attendees,” Trice said.

There’s quite the variety of vendors who will be on hand Saturday, including hydroponic gardening, craft vendors with homemade and handmade crafts, essential oils, knife sharpening, coop builders, boutique clothing, wreath makers, fall decor, farm antiques, tumblers, info about the local 4-H goat group, the Purina national ambassador speaker, “and all the supplies you need to start and feed your own flock from the Ark County Store,” she said.

She’s especially excited to have the Purina ambassador as a guest speaker.

“He is an absolute wealth of poultry knowledge, and we can thank Katie and our sponsor, the Ark County Store, for arranging his visit,” Trice said. “We will have alpacas and young pigs at this event, and our vendors found out that in our area we preferred laying hens instead of chicks, so they started hatching eggs as soon as the last event was over. We will also have a vendor that teaches classes about hydroponic gardening.”

There have been endless hours of paperwork, vendor acquisitions, advertising and coordinating to pull the event off, said Trice, who gives much credit to the team that has come together to make Ellis County Poultry Trades Day the success it is.

“As far as running it, I do most of the work on the back end, talking to vendors, taking forms, advertising,” she said. “However, the day of I have a great team made up of friends and family that get up super early to come help us make the event a success. Also, the Ark County Store was our official feed store vendor for the first event and will be for our Sept. 11 event as well. It’s been a phenomenal partnership.”

She said she especially wants to give “credit to Matty, Big Willy, James, Jake, Elle, Paisley, Ashlynn, Sherri, Meredith, Melissa, Michael, and Chris” for their help in making the event possible.

Ellis County Poultry Trades Day is just as much about learning as it is an opportunity to make purchases.

“You can learn about different poultry breeds, ask questions about illness prevention and proper feeding and medicating, and make connections with poultry vendors if you aren’t quite ready to start your flock,” Trice said. “You can also research breeds based on color egg layers, get a preview of hydroponic gardening, and learn how to care for baby chicks properly.”

She said her favorite part of the event is seeing just how excited Ellis County residents are to have something like this – and she looks forward to the event growing as the years go on.

Asked why she and others made the time and effort to get involved, Trice said, “To share our love of our flocks. To help others gain the knowledge to establish their own flocks. To support small farms and hatcheries, and our craft vendors. It’s been a rough couple of years for everyone and it was great to see so many happy people. We try to bring the best vendors out to our event and in doing so the vendors share all the knowledge they have about caring for their flocks. You don’t generally get that attention and knowledge from big box feed stores. And it’s just plain fun!”

The next Ellis County Poultry Trades Day will be from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Ellis County Expo Center in Waxahachie. The event and parking are free. Cash is preferred as not all vendors have card, Cash App, Paypal or Venmo options. There will not be an ATM on site. The arena is covered, so the event goes on rain or shine.

The Ellis County Poultry Trades Day will continue to be a bi-annual event, with the next event after this one slated for May 2022. Vendors interested in joining in the future can email Texhenranch@gmail.com. Visit the Ellis County Poultry Trades Day Facebook page also for more information.

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