Showing chickens for the first time! I need some advice, PLEASE


11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
What exactly are the judges looking for? I am showing a New Hampshire rooster, a Americana hen, and a Golden Laced Wyndotte hen. I was told to rub oil on their legs, etc. I would love any information. Thanks:D


12 Years
Sep 8, 2007
San Rafael, California
Post a picture to make sure your americana isn't an EE, as most people think they have something else and it's actually an EE.

Make sure they're clean. Scrub their feet with an old toothbrush and soap, wipe them down right before the show to get rid of dust, put vasalene on their combs and wattles and legs.

You should research those breeds to see if you even have something show quality, you need to look at the standards before you show so you're prepared, or you'll end up like most people getting "utility" written on their card like the people at the fair I went to, because their birds were obviously not bred to match the show standard and were instead just bred to be utiltiy layers or lawn ornaments.


12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
Here's my advice. Don't show them. Go to the show and watch. Talk to the exhibitors most of whom love to talk chickens. Volunteer to clerk for the judge for awhile & sak him or her to tell you what s/he's looking for.
Most of all look at the breeds you have &/or are interested in CLOSELY-don't just look at the colour, look at them in detail. How do they stand, how big are they, what colour legs, size of comb, how do they carry their wings and tail, etc.
Often people go to a show with a bird that's not prepared properly or more likely a bird that shouldn't be shown at all. They don't win or even place & possibly their bird gets disqualified. If your bird are hatchery or flea market birds this will almost certainly happen. Many are discouraged by this and never return. It's not the best way to learn.
If at the show you realize your birds don't look anything like the birds in the show there's still hope! Most shows offer a sale row where breeders offer stock for sale & you may be able to pick up better examples of your chosen breed. You may even see something you like even better.


On vacation
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Ontario, CANADA
Great advice from NYReds.

I might add....Join your local Agricultural Society & you will meet the Oldtimers who have been involved with Poultry for many, many years. They are a great source of info & can help you obtain SHOW QUALITY birds.

Buying chooks from commercial hatcheries is not going to get you on CHAMPIONS ROW.

Black Feather

12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
This is all great advice!

If you are going to take your bird to the show check with the show committee to make sure you don't need any special vaccinations/tags etc for your birds for them to be allowed in the show building. I got kicked out of my first show because my birds had not been vaccinated for ILT.

Once you're in the clear vaccinations wise look your birds over about a week and a half before the show. Check their wings, their tails to make sure all of the main large feathers have grown fully in. This is all a part of the 'conditioning' phase of getting ready for a show. The way your birds look is a reflection of yourself. A bird that is in full molt would probably benefit more from staying home than going to the show. The stress of the show may cause 'stress' lines to grow in on the new feathers if they are shown at the time of the molt.

If the bird passes the initial inspection then it's time for a bath. I usually bath my birds about 3-4 days before the show. I don't mean just wipe them down with a cloth, I mean get the bathtub filled if it's a big chicken, or a large bucket if it's a bantam. Get them good and wet and take some mild shampoo to them. I actually use a flea and tick shampoo for dogs. Clean them all up, vent feathers included. Rinse well, towel dry and then place them under a heat lamp to dry further and or blow dry them is you have the time.

At this point I usually give them a light spritz with a human hair shine product if they are a bird that cam benefit from the extra boost in shine.

Clean the legs and clip toe nails and beaks if they are over grown.

In the show room I will also take a tiny bit of cooking oil to 'fuzzy' areas to slick the feathers down a bit. If there is a break in the area between the tail and the back where 'fuzzy' feathers stick out I apply a tiny bit of oil to the feathers and smooth down so that the line from the base of the back through to the tail is a smooth line.

I also carry a clean towel to wipe off any dust/dirt that may get on the feathers in transport.

Hope this helps a bit!

Urban Coyote


11 Years
Jul 9, 2008
Thanks for all of your input. I went. I talked to the judge that judged my chickens. My wyondotte..I will show her again. The new hampshire rooster was to narrow, but his color was better than the roo: said the judge. I would really like to find a New Hampshire rooster that I can show. If any one knows anyone close to scioto co. that would have one to sell.

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