What Qualities Do You Look For In Show Chickens?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by KBG204, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. KBG204

    KBG204 Songster

    Feb 11, 2013
    Pasquotank County, NC
    Hi All,
    I am looking at getting into showing chickens. I know nothing about showing though [​IMG]. What are good characteristics or qualities in a good show chicken? Do they need proof of a pedigree to show? Any feedback is appreciated!


    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    If you're really serious about showing you need to buy a copy of The Standard of Perfection. It is illustrated & describes the characteristics of all the recognized breeds & varieties of poultry. Decide what breed/varieties you're interested in & study those breed standards. The next step is to attend some shows with your Standard & compare winning birds with the breed descriptions to learn how to interpret the Standard. Then you'll be ready to buy some stock & start showing.
    Or you could do what many others do. Order some chicks from a hatchery. Enter them in a show. Have them disqualified or at best place very poorly. Get discouraged & quit.
    There are no pedigrees for chickens.
    1 person likes this.
  3. KBG204

    KBG204 Songster

    Feb 11, 2013
    Pasquotank County, NC
    Where can I find a copy of Standard of Perfection?
  4. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    There is an on-line store at the American Poultry Association website. It's a high quality hardback. Costs 59.00 plus postage. Show breeders will expect you to own one if you go shopping for stock at their place. The 1st 38 pages are invaluable in teaching you what to look for in a properly built chicken.
    Then you need to subscribe to Poultry Press newspaper (website). It is like he AKC Gazette, but independently owned. All the current news and show reports. Great articles, and many ads by good breeders.
    Once you have picked a breed, join their national Club. There will be a breeders directory and there are great ads in Poultry Press to help you find successful breeders of your chosen breed from which to obtain stock.
    Choose a vintage line that has been line-bred for generations. One which wins consistently at large shows over several generations. Chickens are different than mammals, Because of their wide genetic base and many sex-linked genes, they stand inbreeding much better than dogs or cats. Found your flock from a single strain...with individuals distant enough related that you can breed them together. The breeder will help you with that. Do Not,... I can't stress it strongly enough....do not cross strains to found your flock. It will take years to regain the fine show points lost in the cross. It's not like dogs where you can regain the show points in 2 generations. It can take 5 or more generations... if you are skillful. There is enough genetic variation in a vintage strain that you can inbreed and then line-breed without crossing to another strain. If you do eventually want to bring in new blood...do it thru the dam's side and no more than 1/4 foreign blood at a time...in case the cross doesn't nick.
    If you are searching for show quality large fowl I suggest the BYC list Heritage Large Fowl. Eminent breeders are there to help you find and get started with top show quality heritage large fowl.
    Best Regards,
    Karen in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Crowing

    Feb 12, 2009
    You can also get it in paperback handbook, which is much easier to carry around at the shows.
  6. KBG204

    KBG204 Songster

    Feb 11, 2013
    Pasquotank County, NC
    Wow, all good helpful information. I'll have to order me that book next pay check. Eager to start learning more about it. Thanks for the help! -Katie
  7. Delight in Dominiques

    Delight in Dominiques Songster

    Mar 10, 2010
    Search and find a local poultry club. Google it, contact your county co op . Use your 4-H county club to get information. You would be surprised the knowledge and experience that might be close to you. Good luck . JOhn

  8. poltroon

    poltroon Songster

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    I would suggest that the best place to start is to find a poultry show to go to and go to it. The Standard of Perfection is an important book but it is very hard to know, when you look at it, which birds will appeal to you in real life. The SOP doesn't give you a visceral feel for the relative size, and has nothing about temperament, which is part of the enjoyment you'll get out of your birds.

    If you already have a breed in mind, or after you go to a show and get a sense of what you want, then it's time to join the appropriate club, read any threads here you can find about your breed, and seek out a successful breeder. Learn what faults are typical in your breed and get a sense of the basics people use to evaluate it. Keep in mind that most of the most knowledgable and longtime active breeders don't have websites and don't do internet.

    Once you have some nice birds, you can take them to the next year's version of that show you attended, or perhaps some other show coming up in your area.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  9. Welsummer Champ

    Welsummer Champ In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2013
    Buy a Standard of Perfection or use some ones to compare your breed to the standard. If you would like to do showmanship or fit and show, look on the internet to find out how to show it.
  10. KBG204

    KBG204 Songster

    Feb 11, 2013
    Pasquotank County, NC
    Thank you for all the advice, no particular bird in mind yet. I will be doing a lot of research! [​IMG]

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