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4H Son wants to begin showing....help~~

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by bethanyrae, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. bethanyrae

    bethanyrae Songster

    Apr 5, 2009
    My son is thinking about getting into 4H and showing chickens in next summer's fair. He's shown quite an interest in helping out with the chickens, and seems to enjoy it. He's 13. I know that we need to find a "group" but what else do we need to know?

    How old are the chickens that are shown?
    This would affect when he gets them and starts working with them.

    I'm suspecting we need to get "show stock" from someone.

    What would his goals be with the chickens? Besides healthy and well-fed?

    Are there certain categories to enter into? Involving different ages of chickens?

    I met someone whose hens were prize winning layers. Does that mean how many do they lay while at the fair or something?

    I'm a city bred gal who moved to the country, and has had chickens for about 2 years now. Not sure how to advise him about what this would involve.
  2. ChickLover98

    ChickLover98 The Chicken Princess

    Apr 24, 2010
    Some things will be based on comb and feathers, depending on the breed. I raise chickens for breeding and laying, so I wont be much help... [​IMG]
  3. Robo

    Robo Songster

    Jul 15, 2010
    They need to be atleast 6 months old, if you want to win. There is no minimum age, so you can enter for fun at about 4 1/2 months old. I would find a good kind of feed. Give them a lot of protein and care, and then let them do the rest. I would sugest purina feed.
  4. paddock36

    paddock36 Songster 9 Years

    Dec 24, 2008
    Ocala, Florida
    First, I would say your son needs to join a 4H group because some areas don't show poultry in their local fairs. Your 4H office should have information on what criteria they judge from such as APA standards. Plus, showing doesn't neccessarily mean showmanship. Showmanship might be another option in competition. My boys showed chickens last year for the first time, but they did not compete in the showmanship portion because they were involved in other animal shows that conflicted.
  5. poltroon

    poltroon Songster

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    First, find the club and find out how this club participates.

    If you are doing exhibition chickens, ideally you want them to be at least 6 months old. In practice, at our fair, a lot of chickens are younger due to the practicality of the weather and getting the kids off the ground after the first of January. We have taken chickens as young as 4 months - not ideal - but at that age they are still good for showmanship and sometimes can pick up a low ribbon, if they are quality stock, along with useful comments.

    Meat chickens are a different thing and there is a fairly specific timetable for those to match the fair date.

    For exhibition chickens, I definitely recommend making the effort to get stock from a breeder rather than a hatchery. Often the club will coordinate on a chick order or otherwise have sources to work with.

    For showmanship, he'll learn to handle the bird, inspect it for condition, walk it, and he'll have to answer questions about chickens, like knowing the parts, knowing breeds, knowing diseases.

    If your county fairs have not yet happened, try to get to one and see how the poultry goes. Most likely you'll be able to meet 4H leaders there and get the lay of the land.
  6. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    Jan 4, 2009
    First of all: I would advise you to contact your County Extension Agent or County/State 4H Educator. They will be able to answer any questions you have specifically about your state/county 4H program. They will also be able to give you the name and contact information of the Poultry Superintendant. Ask if they have a copy of the current fair catalog, 2010, that you can have to study. Ask them if they know of a particular 4H club in your area that works specifically with poultry. Ask when the recruitment period for 4H clubs starts for next year, sometimes there is a special assembly of all the clubs who then try to recruit new members.
    So once you have some information to work with you may want to find a club that fits your sons needs/wants/expectations, A child DOES NOT have to be affilitated with a club to participate in the county fair. A child can exhibit as an Independant, meaning, more or less,you, the parent, are the 4H leader.
    Now read the fair show handbook cover to cover a few times. It will give you the classes that birds can be shown in, any testing requirements, and any other information/rules that need to be followed by participants. Some fairs have an exhibition as well as a commercial division. Frankly hatchery birds can be shown with sucess in the commercial division, but Show Stock would be the right choice for the exhibition classes. Showmanship is usually a seperate class of its own and most often a child has the option to "opt out" of the showmanship class. I would leave it up to the child as to wether or not they want to compete, at least for their first show....Showmanship really has nothing to do with your particular bird, at the 4H level, but solely judges the child on his knowledge and ability to properly handle a bird....Again it is very important but can be a fearful experience for a younger showman that has never experienced it before.
    Once you have done the reading, selected a class or classes, and determined if you are joining a club then you should start looking for your birds, again make sure of any age requirements of the birds in the classes you have chosen. Contact a breeder in your area. They may have birds available in the fall that have been shown before but are just not on their current show team, Good Type Of Bird For A Youngster To Show, the bird probably has been handled frequently and would be alot easier for a youger showman to handle because the bird has been through the process 100's of times before. I would suggest maybe an older hen, that has been shown, and then maybe a younger pair/trio...I would think all one breed would be the best for a youngster, as then they will become familiar with the particular breed and will be more comfortable answering a question that the judge may have and then not have to "try and sort" the specific breed information from all the other breed information floating around in their heads.
    Remember 4H is supposed to be fun...Let your son pick his own birds, with a copy of the Standard in his hand. Don't expect to win the first year and take notes durring and after the show about winners and techiniques then file them with a copy of your show prgram so you can refer back to them before next year's show.
    Quote:...Surprising How Many People Say This....Ask to see their hardware that may shut a few of them down....
    One last item....Plenty of people freely offer their advice......I always take anything I hear and very cautiously think it through....Lots of times the people giving the advice have really never won anything so then following their advice would be Rather Useless, unless you like second place....
    anyway tell your son to have fun...
  7. poltroon

    poltroon Songster

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    The current fair catalogs may be online, and if not, you may also be able to find them at the feed store.

    We start the 4H year signups in September, but many projects don't get strongly underway until January.

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