Showing a chicken?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by a123andpoof, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. a123andpoof

    a123andpoof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    I have always been interested in showing and would love to try and show chickens. How do you get a show quality bird? Are there shows for just your average bird kind of like cat shows for your average house cat? I am seriously considering it for next year but am mostly wondering how you can aquire a good chicken for showing.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  2. KristenR

    KristenR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2009
    Centralia, WA
    Most people recommend going to an actual show - they are set up similar to cat shows to my knowledge (from my very limited experience with cat shows), yes. But crossbred poultry do not win prizes at poultry shows, that is reserved for the purebreds, so it is not like your ordinary house cat show, no - granted there are some very beautiful crossbreed chickens and domestic shorthair-like pet kitties. Most people at poultry shows have some idea of the standards of perfection and can tell you if a bird is show quality or not. There you will find a myriad of different breeds and varieties of birds that are decent and good representatives of their type and color. With them will be their breeders or exhibitors, whom you can ask questions as to what to look for in show birds of their type. It is handy to start a list of breeds you are interested in and select which one you think you would most like to try from that list. Next - look up the standard for that breed, and maybe while you're at a show - grab some contacts of people who specialize in that breed. That way when it comes time to actually buy a bird - you can draw from your standard and from an expert opinion. Always get a visual of a bird before you buy it. Remember, not everybody at a poultry show is a seasoned breeder or show veteran. They may be unknowingly (or knowingly) selling a "show quality" bird that has a simple, mostly unnoticable fault that is actually a disqualification. This is why, when you are purchasing a show bird, it is always important to be able to look at the bird. It is always most ideal to make your purchase in person, but if your breed is hard to come by, or later on down the line you need new blood and you are restricted to online transactions, pictures can work. In this case it is best to try and find out their show prestige through the ABA or APA or breed club records (starred wins, etc). Ask for actual pictures of the birds standing in a profile shot without being blocked by foliage or other birds, a head-on shot so you can catch things like crooked beak or wry tail and maybe even a shot with the wings spread in breeds like light brown leghorns so you can catch critical color faults like white tipping in the wing. Ask for second opinions of the pictures from experienced breeders. If the seller is honest or they have a good reputation built up, the purchase is probably pretty safe. There are typically lots of advertisments from breeders with show quality stock if you join the American Bantam Association (their yearbook is plumb full of breeders and lists starred winners too), or the American Poultry Association (similar, I imagine). The Poultry Press is also usually a good source that has lots of excellent articles about showbirds to help familiarize yourself with the world of show poultry.
    Best of luck!
    Kristen Ramsdell

    Edited to add: Be aware though - that a show quality bird will not always win - it depends on your bird's quality and condition at the time relative to the quality and condition of the competition. Don't give up if you don't win right away! The show hall, is above all, a place of learning for us all.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by