How do I get into 'showing' chickens?

suzettex5

Songster
10 Years
May 26, 2009
1,327
15
163
California
Just curious if your chicken has to be registered, or from registered stock, like dogs and cats? Can any chicken be entered into a show? If I buy a 'pure' chick from a feedstore, can it be shown at a show,(as an adult)? I dont know anything about showing birds, but I sure would love some info from anyone who might know and wouldnt mind sharing how it all works.

Thanks!
 

Illia

Crazy for Colors
10 Years
Oct 19, 2009
16,240
246
336
Forks, WA
Basically you need a chicken with proven bloodlines to actually look perfect according to the APA standards. In other words, don't rely on showing a feedstore chick or a hatchery chick. Get from a reputable breeder. Then, look for a show you can enter in and find out more info on that. You must make sure your chicken has no diseases, has been checked for mites and the such, and has nothing wrong with it is feathers. Also, it needs a numbered leg band.

What else do you want to know?
smile.png
 

suzettex5

Songster
10 Years
May 26, 2009
1,327
15
163
California
Ok, what does proven bloodlines mean? When you buy from a breeder, do you get paperwork to prove your chickens' heritage? Do you need proof from a vet that your bird is disease free to show the people running the show? Where do you get leg bands and what are they for? Where do breeders get their stock from if not from a hatchery?
So, how do you know if your chicken is show quality? Why arent hatchery birds good enough to show, what makes them different from breeders? I am curious because my daughter mentioned showing chickens the other day, and we have lots of chicks already, but I would rather be really informed before I make a decision. If we let her do this, I need to know what I'd be getting into time wise and cost wise. Can you let a chicken you show run with the rest of your flock? Do most people have just one,or multiple show birds? Where do you find the APA standards? Is it a book or online?

Thanks again!!

Edit- Sorry I just machine gun fired a billion questions at you!!
bow.gif
 
Last edited:

Illia

Crazy for Colors
10 Years
Oct 19, 2009
16,240
246
336
Forks, WA
Show Quality chickens are from breeders (good ones) not hatcheries because, well, for starters - Hatcheries originally got their birds from breeders. From there, hatcheries only look for a chicken that lays enough eggs to sell. Also, they often keep their old stock which can get inbred and crossbred. And of course - Sometimes they purposefully let this happen. For example, Araucanas and Ameraucanas sold by hatcheries are actually crossbred chickens, not the breed claimed.

Breeders actually have a look at and selectively breed their chickens for "show quality" which basically is the closest possible to the APA Standard of Perfection for the breed. The standards are available in a book, sold by the APA. In that book is what each breed should look like, and what each breed is judged by in shows.

I don't know of any case where you need papers or registration for showing your bird - Even feedstore chicks have been entered in shows. They just don't do as well, because they were bred for laying eggs.

As for the diseases and all, I believe you do need proof from someone that they are healthy birds. Since I have yet to go through this process, I do not know the details of that.

Yes, show quality birds are more expensive than a "pet quality" chicken, but they're still the same cost to feed and take care of.
wink.png
The reason hatcheries do not have show quality birds is, as stated above, because they do not keep track of their breeding. Most hatchery stock are huge amounts of chickens who breed whatever they can, wether it be direct relative or sometimes even a bird of a different breed. And, over time, this causes a lot of faults in the bird. Some in the end look nothing like what the APA standards call for.

Have I answered everything? Trying to see here and I think I have, but I'm not sure.
big_smile.png
Oh - Breeders, where they get their stock from. . . Well, from previous breeders, really, if they're reputable. (some are just people who breed hatchery chickens and claim they're good quality though) But it all traces back to the origin of the breed.
 

FlashPointFarm

Songster
10 Years
11 Years
Jan 24, 2009
1,891
18
198
Iowa
To get the details on the APA standards, there is a book you can buy and join APA. The book is called American Poultry Assoc. Standard of Perfection, I think. If I remember right, it's around $40.

Picking the breed you want to show, then talking with breeders that are willing to share the knowledge will help you out also.
smile.png
 

suzettex5

Songster
10 Years
May 26, 2009
1,327
15
163
California
Thanks a ton Illia and FlashPointFarm! I think you did get them all!! I didnt know all that was going on behind the scenes st the hatcheries. What you say makes perfect sense.

I think for now, we will just enjoy our egg laying hens as pets, and think about what fancy breed to get into in a year or two from now. But at least now we know where to get the APA book and we can have fun playing 'Judge' to the hatchery chicks we have now. I think that will be fun and a good way for my daughter to get experience with the possible faults and proper standards.

Thanks again!!
 

averytds

Songster
11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
1,165
7
163
KS
Why not let her show some of what you have? Depending on the show and the judge, hatchery stock will do fine. May even be what everyone else has. We didn't really grasp the difference until we went to the state level and got to see the pro show birds.

The bird we took to state was from a breeder, but she had some hatchery stock in with her line. He was just smaller than he should be compared to the breeder birds.

We're moving into that now, but I wouldn't bother if we were staying with just the small county/children fairs. Ask around, maybe check some out or let her enter. Sometimes the judge will write down his thoughts on your bird or you can talk with him after. We learned more by finally just doing it than we did the year before trying to find out about it.

Our first one of the summer will do the necessary health testing free when you bring your birds to check-in. It covers them for the 90 days during which all our events fall. Entry is free. Most just give their bird a bath 2-3 days before and keep them penned up separate for those next couple of days.

If your daughter likes it enough and wants to go higher, then look to investing in better stock. She may decide to stay at the lower level or decide she's no longer interested either way what you have will work. No need to really incur any extra expense outside of gas until then.


If she starts considering going higher and has certain breeds she's really fond of, you could go to that breeds club website. Find out when there will be a youth show near you and go. Get a feel for what it's like at a more structured level and a better idea of what you'd be getting into. Most people like to talk about their birds.

My eldest is the only one eligible to continue to the state level. While we're still light on better stock, he will be the one to show the best we have. My middle child will show the next best. Hopefully we will have more and better birds to chose from by the time she's eligible and she will have that much more experience.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom