Total beginner question: how do you bring birds to shows?

thecreekhouse

Songster
Feb 26, 2015
306
348
161
East Tennessee
Hi. I am a total chicken exhibition newbie (haven’t been to first show yet) and I’m trying to help and support my 11 yrold 4-H daughter begin participating in showing and showmanship. But we know absolutely NOTHING at this point. We have everything to learn. So I have lots of questions.

My first one is whether there’s a website or book that exists that’s designed to guide an absolute beginner in learning to exhibit poultry. I’m talking about a resource with every possible detail that an absolute newbie would need to know to participate in the sport of poultry exhibition. Can anyone recommend such a resource?

Second of all, I am wondering how people transport their birds to shows. Are there special exhibition cages for transport or can you use a dog crates or boxes? And then once you arrive at the show, does your bird remain in whatever crate or cage you brought her in or do you move her into a specific cage set up on one of the exhibition tables? How do you know which cage she should be put into? Does she remain in the show cage until the show is over? How do you keep your chicken clean if she remains in a single cage for the duration of the show?

I. Realize that these are absolute beginner questions and my daughter and I appreciate any feedback folks are willing to offer.
 

CacklingRanch

Songster
Apr 20, 2017
259
985
196
Texas
A helpful website with information on showing is :

https://www.poultryshowcentral.com/

There’s several articles for beginners on showing.

Go to a few shows and walk around. Talk to breeders. Get a feel for it. Reach out to your 4H leader. I recommend attending several local shows before showing. Let your daughter do the showmanship challenges and meet other poultry fanciers her age.

You’ll see birds showing up in everything from cardboard boxes, dog crates, plastic totes, to professional wooden boxes.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,246
18,667
817
Western Ohio
We showed chickens thru 4-H for the first time last year. So, I can only comment in our OH experience.

We brought them in a big dog wire crate. We put them into their individual cages provuded by the fair. We brought binder clips to help keep the door closed, as some of the latches were a little dubious.

Food and water: the cages here have a shaped part that drops down like a flat finger -a red party cup fits perfectly under this. The cup sits on the floor of the cage and is kept in place by this “finger”. The trick to making it easy is to put one empty cup under the finger, but another cup of water (or food) is slipped into it-much easier to change. Cages in your state/county fair maybe different, so ask around.

Cage size: great for regular to small chickens. Our Jersey Giant male who was not even full grown was cramped. All our others were fine. Of those exhibitors showing a laying pair, some had cages with both together, some had individual cages.

Showing: the day before the show we washed the chickens (like everyone else was doing). I got the mildest baby shampoo that created the least suds to shampoo them. I added it to the water and washed them. Some did not like this, so have a good handle on them and do it with another person. We wrapped in an older beach towel, then finished drying with a hair dryer. They looked nice afterwards (so did everyone else’s). Before you commit to washing, make sure you have a water source and ability to plug in a dryer.

Your child will bring the chickens to the show ring and place in a cage for judging. So, you need to have a cage/item that your child can carry them to the ring and put one in without the other escaping. We used s plastic laundry basket, but our makeshift lid wasn’t easy to use, so we did have escaped chickens once, and I recommend knowing what you are going to use to walk them to the ring. We did not know we needed something to carry to the ring, so were unprepared.

4-H will judge cleanliness and animal welfare by club. So every morning and later afternoon/evening cages were being cleaned, animals refreshed. Plan to visit 2x per day. You will need a broom and dust pan to clean up the ground and help sweep out old shavings from the cage. Bring an entire bag of shavings for the week. We just put them underneath the cages, nothing was stolen. Some people had plywood boxes on wheels that locked (some stood vertically and opened like a pantry, some were horizontal and opened like a blanket chest and doubled as a seat).

Good luck!
 

thecreekhouse

Songster
Feb 26, 2015
306
348
161
East Tennessee
Thank you! This info is incredibly helpful!

We showed chickens thru 4-H for the first time last year. So, I can only comment in our OH experience.

We brought them in a big dog wire crate. We put them into their individual cages provuded by the fair. We brought binder clips to help keep the door closed, as some of the latches were a little dubious.

Food and water: the cages here have a shaped part that drops down like a flat finger -a red party cup fits perfectly under this. The cup sits on the floor of the cage and is kept in place by this “finger”. The trick to making it easy is to put one empty cup under the finger, but another cup of water (or food) is slipped into it-much easier to change. Cages in your state/county fair maybe different, so ask around.

Cage size: great for regular to small chickens. Our Jersey Giant male who was not even full grown was cramped. All our others were fine. Of those exhibitors showing a laying pair, some had cages with both together, some had individual cages.

Showing: the day before the show we washed the chickens (like everyone else was doing). I got the mildest baby shampoo that created the least suds to shampoo them. I added it to the water and washed them. Some did not like this, so have a good handle on them and do it with another person. We wrapped in an older beach towel, then finished drying with a hair dryer. They looked nice afterwards (so did everyone else’s). Before you commit to washing, make sure you have a water source and ability to plug in a dryer.

Your child will bring the chickens to the show ring and place in a cage for judging. So, you need to have a cage/item that your child can carry them to the ring and put one in without the other escaping. We used s plastic laundry basket, but our makeshift lid wasn’t easy to use, so we did have escaped chickens once, and I recommend knowing what you are going to use to walk them to the ring. We did not know we needed something to carry to the ring, so were unprepared.

4-H will judge cleanliness and animal welfare by club. So every morning and later afternoon/evening cages were being cleaned, animals refreshed. Plan to visit 2x per day. You will need a broom and dust pan to clean up the ground and help sweep out old shavings from the cage. Bring an entire bag of shavings for the week. We just put them underneath the cages, nothing was stolen. Some people had plywood boxes on wheels that locked (some stood vertically and opened like a pantry, some were horizontal and opened like a blanket chest and doubled as a seat).

Good luck!
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,246
18,667
817
Western Ohio
Thank you! This info is incredibly helpful!

The only other main thing I would add is to be prepared if weather is hot. We added ice 2x per day on the hottest days. Your 4-H group may have other suggestions. Also, some cages are unfortunately in the sun more than others. One cage of ours was on the second level of cages and despite the shade fabric the fair had installed, that rooster was in the sun for a bit each day-morning sun, gone by 11am (past theroof kind of the exhibition building). Luckily fair was during a not too hot week. So, be prepared to ask for or have some kind of shade material if it is needed (or ask to have animals moved if it’s especially hot). Be prepared to provide ice - and/or have larger water containers that are stable (won’t tip or are secured to cage) so there is ample water and can handle extra ice. Maybe your fair has the building more shaded, which may ease the heat issue.

If your 4-H does the “skill-a-thon”, then the local office for your areas may have “skill-a-thon” kits to borrow and use with your child. The kits are animal category-based, do we borrowed the poultry one, which included chicken, turkey, ducks, I recall.
 

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