Showing chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MRNpoultry, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    I was thinking about showing some of my chickens at the dixie classic fair. What all do you have to do to show chickens? Do you have to leave them at the fair grounds for a few days? Is there anything else I need to know about showing chickens?

    Thanks for any help to my questions.
    1 person likes this.
  2. User48

    User48 Songster

    Aug 1, 2007
    I'd love to get some feedback on this too. I've been to two big shows & observed the birds in their cages that were being shown, but I left both times with no conceptual idea of what showing actually entails. Does the bird owner ever come in contact with judges or do the judges simply walk around the hall observing the birds independently? I would love the breakdown of what happens at a show when you are, in fact, showing. I left feeling as if showing must be a really passive thing - stick your bird in a cage & then wait & see what happens. What confuses me is hearing from others that they learned a lot about how to show from talking to the judges. If that's the case, there must be some interaction, right?

    Anyway, call me clueless. [​IMG] (Glad that we're past that 4/1 joke, becuase I know what my tagline would say.) [​IMG]

    1 person likes this.
  3. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    When I went to the show last year the judges walked qround and came back and awarded the ribbons. After that people walked back there and talked to the judges. But thats the only part I know about showing.
  4. a2ms4chickens

    a2ms4chickens Songster

    Dec 16, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    My son showed at a couple of poultry shows to practice showmanship for 4-H. Showmanship is only for the kids at the shows we have been to.

    The adults check in their birds, get them all cleaned up and put in their cages.

    Then all the birds are judged, and the grand champions are taken to the winner's table. Depending on the poultry club, prizes and trophies are passed out at the end of the show.

    The birds do stay at the show for the duration.

    The exhibitors usually talk to the judges after all the judging is done. Especially if they question the judges marks.

    There are usually birds for sale, and you can talk to other exhibitors or breeders if you have questions about the breed or the standard of the bird.

    People who show at these clubs breed their own birds, so they can be very competitive.

    It is a passive show for the exhibitors, but they put a lot of time and effort into these birds before and after the shows.

    Hope this helps.
  5. User48

    User48 Songster

    Aug 1, 2007
    It helps a lot! Thanks for the response -it clears up all of the things I've been wondering about & makes showing seem a lot less daunting.

  6. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC

    The show I would show at does not have a youth show. Can you bring your chicken in on the day of judging?
  7. a2ms4chickens

    a2ms4chickens Songster

    Dec 16, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    Yes, though you usually have to register and may have to pay entrance fees prior to the show.
  8. MRNpoultry

    MRNpoultry Songster

    Mar 2, 2008
    Gibsonville, NC
    The fair is fairly far away from here so I don't think we could drive there every day for 3 days. The entry fee is 1 doller a bird.
  9. a2ms4chickens

    a2ms4chickens Songster

    Dec 16, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    I know that we had to leave our birds there for both days. It was a lot of driving for us, too.

    And for the fair, we have to leave our birds there for 7 days. We are camping there for the week, since there is a lot of 4-H activities going on, and it is a long drive, also.

    If you decide to show, have fun with it. It is kind of fun to see what the judges think of your birds. You also get to see what the champion birds look like.

    Ours may not be grand champions, but we enjoy looking at the other birds and learning from the other exhibitors. And my son gets ribbons for 1st-3rd place.
  10. perfectly_polish

    perfectly_polish Crowing

    Mar 1, 2007
    I have been showing my birds for about 2 years now. I do bring them to APA shows and also fairs. If you're showing at a fair it's pretty simple, some fairs you have to register your birds before and some have walk-in entries. You leave your birds there and come pick them up when the fair is over, you don't have to go there every day. The birds are also fed and watered there. Before a show to get your birds ready you can cage train them, so they are not skidish around the judge, and also so they are use to being in a cage, and aren't slouched over. You can start cage training about 2 weeks before the show. Find a cage that is about the size of the ones at the fair. Put your bird in there so they become accustomed to it. You also would want to handle your bird 2-3 times a day, as the judge would. When you put a bird in a cage, always do it head first, the same if you are taking it out. So when you are handling a bird you take it out of the cage head first, with your left palm(or right if you are left handed), your middle and ring find between the birds legs. Then look at their feet, wings, head, whole body, just like the judge would do. This gets them use to being handled so when judge day comes they aren't showing poorly and will let the judge handle them with ease. Also 1-2 days before the show you should wash your bird. I bought special chicken shampoo from MMH, but a light detergent would do just fine. If you are washing a number of birds, the multi-tub method is best (a soaping tub & 2-3 rinse tubs). If you only have a few to wash, it can be done
    in the bathtub (large birds) or sink (bantam chickens and ducks). In either case, the area in which the birds
    are to be washed should be 80¡F-90¡F and free from drafts. You should have cages to place the birds in
    after they are washed. If the birds will be returned to floor pens after they are washed, it is important to
    place plenty of clean straw or shavings on the floor to keep the birds from becoming soiled again.
    Multi-tub method
    Items required:
    • Detergent. Some detergents make feathers dry
    and brittle. Recommended detergents include
    Lux flakes, Ivory, Cheer or Casteel soap.
    • Vinegar
    • Bluing
    • Sponge
    • Soft, old toothbrush and tooth picks
    • Four washing tubs
    • Optional: 50% malathion wetable powder
    The multi-tub method requires four tubs for
    white birds and three for all others. To save strain on
    your back, it is best to place them on boxes or
    benches. The first two tubs should be filled with
    warm water (95°F) and the third with water at room
    The first tub is used for the actual cleaning of the
    birds. Soap or detergent is added to the tub. Make a
    good suds before putting the bird into the water.
    Grasp the bird with both hands and lower it gently
    into the water, holding the wings so they cannot be
    flapped. With the bird standing on the bottom of the
    tub, release one hand but hold the bird firmly with the
    other. With the free hand, gently move the feathers
    on all parts of the body so the soap and water will
    penetrate to the skin. Then with a small brush,
    sponge, or your hand, work the soapy water through
    the feathers. Make sure to rub the feathers from base
    to tip to prevent feather breakage. Do not put the
    bird's head under water.
    While the bird is still in the first tub, take a soft,
    old toothbrush and scrub legs gently to remove any
    dirt or molting scales. Malathion (1 1/4 ounces of 50%
    malathion wetable powder or emulsifiable
    concentrate per gallon of water) can be added to the
    wash water to help rid the birds of any external
    When the plumage has been thoroughly washed,
    transfer the birds to the second tub containing a small
    amount of vinegar and thoroughly rinse out as much
    of the soap as possible. The vinegar will help remove
    the soap. It is important to remove all the soap,
    otherwise the feathers will stick and be streaked.
    For birds other than white, the third tub should
    contain plain water and a fourth tub is not required.
    For white birds, the third rinse tub should contain a
    small amount of bluing (for example, Boraten), just
    enough to give the water a slight blue color. It is
    important not to get the water too blue or it will give
    the plumage a bluish tinge. The bluing helps whiten,
    condition, and give the feathers a sheen. Too much
    bluing may dye the feathers. White birds are then
    placed in a fourth tub, with plain water, for a final
    When the washed bird is removed from the final
    rinsing, the plumage should be dried as much as
    possible. Work as much water as possible out with
    the hands, then dry with a towel. After the birds are
    thoroughly dry, you can polish their feathers with a
    pure silk cloth.
    The birds should be placed in a drying cage in a
    warm room. Birds cannot stand excessive heat, so do
    not place them too close to a heat source. Take care
    that the birds do not soil their plumage during the
    drying process. If two or more birds have been
    washed, keep them separated until dry.
    A bird can be washed in 15 to 20 minutes,
    although it may take 12 to 18 hours for it to dry.
    Birds should dry slowly for best results, however a
    hair dryer can be used carefully to hasten drying. If
    you are grooming loosely feathered birds like Cochin
    or Silkie chickens, using a hair dryer will help puff
    out the feathers. A hair dryer also works well on
    crests. Most breeds, though, look better if they dry
    slowly. Fluffing plumage with a hair dryer can be
    downright disastrous in tight-feathered breeds such as
    Cornish or Old English Game.
    Crested breeds need more grooming than other
    birds. The crest especially needs a great deal of
    attention. After washing the body plumage, hold the
    bird by the legs, allowing the head to hang down.
    Submerge the crest feathers keeping the eyes above
    the water, working the suds into the topknot until it is
    well lathered. In the case of an extremely dirty crest,
    sprinkle a few drops of mild liquid soap into the head
    feathers. However, no amount of washing will
    brighten a crest that is yellow, brassy or dry from too
    much sun.
    After the bird has been washed and dried,
    examine it to make sure no dirt remains under the
    scales. If some is found, it should be removed with a
    toothpick. A small piece of cloth moistened with
    baby oil, vitamin E oil, or olive oil should be rubbed
    over the comb, wattles, beak, and shanks of the birds.
    A mixture of equal parts of alcohol, glycerin, and
    olive oil makes an excellent cleaning and polishing
    solution for shanks, feet, comb and wattles. Do not
    apply too much as the plumage may become stained.
    Buff the head and leg parts with a clean, soft rag until
    all the oil has been worked in, taking great care not to
    get oil on any feathers.

    Showing is a lot of work, but it really is alot of fun, and very rewarding. I hope you give it a try!

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