Ask yourself. Are you ready to show a chicken? How do you like your show chicken? --Clean and purdy!? Well if so, you've reached your viewing destination.
How to Prepare a Chicken for ShowingWhether your three or thirty, age doesn't matter. You can show an amazing chicken that's ready for the show by following this handy guide.
Before You Begin:
Have the following items at hand:
- Your Show Chicken
- A Dry Place with Fresh Bedding
- At Least Three Days Before Your Show
- Something to bathe your bird in (ie. a bucket, sink, large mixing bowl)
- Non-Harsh Shampoo (ie. Dog Shampoo or Baby Shampoo labeled "no tears" that the shampoo won't stink anybody's eyes)
- Q-Tips/Ear Swabs
- A Large Towel
- A Hair Dryer
- A Nail Filer
- Nail Clippers
- White Vinegar
- Access to clean water
- A Small Scrub Brush or Old Toothbrush
- Moisturizing Lotion, Cocoa Butter or Vaseline
- Lots of Knowledge about the Breed You're Showing (can be done after preparation or during dry off time)
- Poultry Spray Protector (optional)
Today I'll be using my Barred Rock Bantam hen to demonstrate. Start with warming your water up to were your bird can get comfortable at a lukewarm temperature.
Filling the Tub with Water
I'm just using one bucket today but some people will use three buckets, you can still use one bucket and just dump the water out a few times during the rising stage.
Next, place your bird in the warm water, let them get used to it and then take your cup or hose and soak your bird to remove the dirt.
Here Come the Suds
After your bird is wet, you can add your shampoo that you massage into their feathers for a deep clean. Wash them with shampoo three times, after each rinsing the bird off each time.
The Final Rinsing
Go ahead and take your bird and give them a final rinse off and make sure there isn't any shampoo left on the bird.
Now is the time to dry off your bird. You can do this by first wrapping the bird into the towel like a blanket and them stroking the feathers from head to tail. You can your show chicken sit here for a few minutes to relax if you'd like.
Applying Lotion to the Comb
While you're waiting on you bird to dry off a bit, you can apply your lotion now. You can use cocoa butter or Vaseline as well. Take a little bit and place it on your thumb and pointer finger and massage your chickens comb, waddles and earlobes until you can't see the lotion anymore. This helps your bird look lively at the show.
Go ahead and take your bird to where you'll be blow drying them. If this is outside, let them sit tight as you get your blow dryer.
Hair Dryer Drying
Say that three times fast, after you've towel dried your bird, you are ready for the part most chickens either love or hate. Purdy the Barred Rock loves it. Turn your dryer's settings on warm and low, or high if your bird doesn't mind. Keep the dyer at a safe distance of a wing's width away or about 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) so you don't burn your bird or make it too hot.
Cleaning Up The Face
Take your tweezers and very carefully puck some face feathers on your bird if needed, some birds have naturally featherless faces but other will need to be plucked for a chic look.
By this point, your bird should be mostly dry and might even be relaxing.
Cleaning The Eyebrows, Comb and Legs
Take a Q-tip or two and rinse in water then scrub any extra dirt above the eye, on the comb and feet that wasn't removed during the bath. This gives your bird an even cleaner look. To clean the hocks and toes, pick up the bird and hold it in a foot ball pose with its head tucked towards your back as you cradle the bird and lift up each of its legs to clean up.
At this point, you can also clip your birds nails with the same cradling football hold as you trim the nails back. If your bird has sharp nails you should use your nail file for a smooth edge. If you have clipped your bird's nail to far use a towel or toilet paper to apply pressure until the nail stops bleeding. If you have anti-bleed powder, use that, some people will also use a little bit of flower but all of the above does the same thing to help clot the bleeding nail.
Place your newly washed bird in a clean cage with fresh bedding and wait a few hours for him or her to dry. If it's cold where you live, let them dry out of the wind and in non cold area and provide water if needed. If it's hot outside provide water and shade or dry your bird off inside or out of the weather.
A Few Hours Later...
A Nice Purdy Bird, Purdy's a Pretty Barred Rock Bantam after her show prep
That concludes today's How To. Feel free to post questions, suggestions and more below, don't be a shy fellow! Good Luck at the show too!
Other Helpful Showing Articles:
You'll want to touch up on your poultry knowledge, walking your bird, posing your bird and having a cage trained bird as well! This article has been written by a Utah State 4-H winner (1st place) in 4-H Demonstrations (7/17/13).