My First Show....Need Some Help


10 Years
May 18, 2009
I am an adult, and have decided to try showing chickens at the county fair this July. I have shown horses, dogs, rabbits, but never chickens so I don't really know how this is done. I visited a chicken show last fall and I think this might be something I can handle! The fair is only 10 minutes away, and it's not usually a big fair, so why not.

Anyway, I bought a pair of large blue frizzle cochins last fall at the Indianapolis poultry show, and I would like to show them. What class do they need to be entered in? I also have a bantam white cochin frizzle. It's $1 per entry, minimum 5. I also have a few Seramas I could show.

The entry form doesn't give much info. Do my birds need to be marked in any way, as in leg band with number?

The form says that I am to provide food but the superintendent will feed them. So basically I just have my birds in coops and that's it? Or do I need to be cleaning the cages during their stay? Are there runners that bring my birds up to the show table?

Those chickens are super friendly and easy to handle.

Grrr........I am so new at this! I don't want to come across as some total new person while I am there. Thanks!
I don't show chickens, so can't advise about bathing them. My ducks and geese are self-cleaning.

For open classes, the birds are normally judged in their cages.

At the fair, I am there every day, and clean my cages multiple times a day. I want the birds to look nice and I don't want them getting poop on themselves. Plus it looks better to the public if cages are sanitary.

Probably each fair will be run a bit differently. I take water from home and water my own birds. Almost for certain, you will need to provide your own coop cups for food and water.

Here, the 4-H kids run around all day, topping off water. So I have to keep my waterer really full to prevent the kids from adding city water to my bird's coop cup.

Bedding is normally provided, but I take shavings, just in case.

Treat your birds for lice about a week before the show. Normally, birds get inspected before you are allowed to cage them and it is really embarrassing if bugs are found on your birds.
I would say, give your county fair a call and ask for the number of the person who is in charge of the chicken show at the fair. I bet they would be glad to answer questions and help you know what to expect. In our town, the Extension office is in charge of the fair and would have that contact info.

All fairs are run differently. Here, adults can't even enter, just the 4H kidos. Luckily, our birds are always judged on the first day of the fair. For the most part here, if you bathe them and get them in pretty shape, coop them in the night before the show it goes well. A county over from us, they judge the chickens on the 5th or 6th day of the fair - trying to keep birdies clean and pretty for that would not be fun!

Our family is at the fair everyday to feed and water our birds. Feed, scratch,cage containers, and bedding are provided if you want to use it, and most do. The 4H'ers are expected to keep their own cages clean and birds fed. Last year, some helpful kids were topping off the food and water all day, we went through TONS of food. So this year, I believe the leader is going to stress to the kids that topping off water is ok, but let's not go so crazy on feed this year. A lot ended up kicked out of cages onto the floor or scooped out with the shavings each day.

Have fun!! That's the part that's the same at all shows :0)
I don't know the rules where you are, but every show I have been to needs proof that you have had your birds tested for salmonella pullorum, and avian influenza, or for you to provide proof that they came from an NPIP flock.

Please do not let this stop you! Anyone that exhibits poultry has to go through this.
You need to contact the fair , and ask if they require this.

The entry form will have spots for:
LF = large fowl
BTM =bantam
WF =waterfowl
C =cock
and class:
There's alot to type, I'm gonna save time and just tell you "Asiatic Class"
The bantam would be in "Feather Legged Bantam Class"
Again, since it is a fair, and not an APA (American Poultry Association) show, their rules may or may not be different.

And there's more..... but this is enough for one post!
You may PM me, or keep asking questions here. I don't know everything, because I am Stoopid, but will try to help you the best I can
Contact the show superintendent; you may need to call the fair office to get contact information. Then ask all the questions you can think about--the only dumb question is one that you didn't ask. All of us were new to poultry exhibition at some point, and every show may have a few differences. With the exception of showmanship, some waterfowl and market birds, birds are judged in cages. In most cases showmanship is limited to youth, although it is open to adults at at least a couple of shows I know of.

During judging, the aisles are closed to all exhibitors--only the judge, clerk and show staff are allowed to be present. You can usually watch from the next aisle over.

Fairs may or may not be APA/ABA sanctioned, and every state (and show) has different requirements as far as health certificates, testing, vaccinations, etc. In general, the farther east you are, the more stringent the requirements. Most western states simply require the birds to be healthy. (Note that healthy includes being pest-free.)

It's always a good idea to have identifying leg bands on your birds, and some shows say they require them. (However, I have never been to a show that actually DID require them).
Oh, and Seramas are usually judged on a table, unlike most poultry breeds.
The judge (or helper) takes the bird out of the cage.
You really need to go to a show and watch.
And have fun.
And wear comfortable shoes.
And a camera

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