Grooming white birds

Noah Way Farm

Chirping
Apr 29, 2019
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145
91
South Carolina
Just wondering if anyone has ever used grooming chalk to whiten up birds for shows? This is used regularly for showing dogs, and theoretically, it is removed from the coat before entering the ring.
Just curious if any one has tried it on a chicken?
 

Fur-N-Fowl

Fluffy Dinosaur Breeder
Premium member
May 25, 2019
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I can't advise on the chalk as I've never used it. However, if it comes off onto the judges hands when they handle the bird they may disqualify or mark it down as you trying to cover up the birds true colour (even though it is white).

It's always a good idea to powder your birds with a louse powder before going to a show. I just happen to use a white one on my white birds and it doesn't come off when you touch the bird but it does kinda help with brightening them a little.

As suggested by @ChickenCanoe it's best to keep your white show birds out of direct sunlight as yellow feathers can be hard to 'hide'.

The only other thing I can suggest is keeping on top of quickly removing mud and stains from the white feathers on the run up to a show.
 

Fur-N-Fowl

Fluffy Dinosaur Breeder
Premium member
May 25, 2019
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Oops just realised I misread the part where you say it's removed from the coat before entering the ring!

In that case, it shouldn't come off onto clothes/hands etc.

I still can't advise on actually using the chalk though and I don't know what effect it could have on the feathers or bird itself.

How does it work? Is it left on the animal for a while then washed off or just wiped off etc.
 

Noah Way Farm

Chirping
Apr 29, 2019
110
145
91
South Carolina
Oops just realised I misread the part where you say it's removed from the coat before entering the ring!

In that case, it shouldn't come off onto clothes/hands etc.

I still can't advise on actually using the chalk though and I don't know what effect it could have on the feathers or bird itself.

How does it work? Is it left on the animal for a while then washed off or just wiped off etc.
So, in dogs and horses, where I have seen it used, you either brush it in dry, and brush it back out (or use a blow dryer) or use a coat conditioner to moisten the coat a bit, apply and remove. In dog shows, it is also illegal to use anything that changes your dog's appearance, so making sure all loose powder is removed is very important, but I imagine it works because some does adhere to the hairs. I will have to look at what the actual ingredients are - obviously, it's not toxic to dogs, but dogs aren't chicken ;)

I am a long way from showing chickens yet, but I do like to keep my animals in top shape and looking their best anyhow, and I don't want my first use of something to be right before a show, so I just thought I'd ask.
 

Fairview01

Songster
Jan 26, 2017
991
1,384
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Dallas, TX
Just wondering if anyone has ever used grooming chalk to whiten up birds for shows? This is used regularly for showing dogs, and theoretically, it is removed from the coat before entering the ring.
Just curious if any one has tried it on a chicken?
On the show table if anything comes off on the judges hands the bird is automatically disqualified.

I know nothing about that but I do know that white birds do need to be kept out of direct sunlight to prevent the feathers from becoming brassy. I don't think there is a way to correct that till the next molt.


This is an excuse of breeders raising white fowl that have not been able to cull the gold gene out of their genetics. I raise large fowl white cornish. Those that carry the silver gene, identified as black ticking in the feathers, will not pull brass in or out of direct sunlight. A bird that is carrying the gold gene will after it's final juevenille molt pull brass even if it has never been in any direct sunlight. The gold gene is a negative recessive trait in white birds. Most people do not have the patience to create a family line and eliminate the negative recessive trait.
 
Nov 8, 2017
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While the brassiness is caused by gold, the sun and corn will always cause yellowing in the feathers.
For grooming, I’ve found Snow White Shampoo for dogs to be effective. If this is unavailable don’t use very brightly colored shampoos as an alternative. I once dyed a white bird green before a show.
Also, blueing in the rinse water helps, but add it to the bucket before the water. Otherwise you may dye the bird blue.
Another tip, don’t wash ducks. They’ll keep themselves pristine as long as provided clean water in which to bathe every other day. If anything, right before a show, put them in a pool so that they may wash themselves.
 

Fairview01

Songster
Jan 26, 2017
991
1,384
196
Dallas, TX
While the brassiness is caused by gold, the sun and corn will always cause yellowing in the feathers.
For grooming, I’ve found Snow White Shampoo for dogs to be effective. If this is unavailable don’t use very brightly colored shampoos as an alternative. I once dyed a white bird green before a show.
Also, blueing in the rinse water helps, but add it to the bucket before the water. Otherwise you may dye the bird blue.
Another tip, don’t wash ducks. They’ll keep themselves pristine as long as provided clean water in which to bathe every other day. If anything, right before a show, put them in a pool so that they may wash themselves.
My white cornish carry the silver gene and will show what appears to be brass but it is not. When fed corn the color does not come out on the feathers from the quil but rather is transferred to the feathers by the beak during preening. I've experimented with plant additives this year to enhance shank color and my birds are a mess because of it.

Bottom line it's genetics. A white feathered bird carrying the gold gene will pull brass weather kept in sun or shade. A white feathered bird that does not carry the gold gene will not pull brass of in sun or shade.

The presence of the gold gene does not make itself known until after the final juevenille molt which is why propagators of white feathered birds have created this urban myth.
 
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