Forgive me. I am fairly new to the poultry show world but not to the show world, in general. We've had chickens for 9 years and my children have attended one or two poultry shows (other than county fairs) twice a year for two years now. We have raised and actively shown rabbits for 5. It seems, to this poultry show newbie, that the differences in the learning opportunity at poultry vs. rabbit shows is night and day. Our experience at the poultry shows we've been to has been consistent. Birds are cooped, rows roped off, judge and writer/clerk go down rows, cards marked. It's over. You go look at placings but reasons for placements or comments on animals are never given. Virtually nothing is learned. I find this discouraging. Rabbit shows, however, seem to provide ample opportunity for learning. Rabbits are brought in carriers or cooped. Breeds and classes are called and rabbits are brought to the table and placed in judging coops. The judge then silently looks over each rabbit (does not look at ear tatoos yet) for DQs, conformation, condition, etc. Exhibitors and visitors watch from the other side of the tables. Placements follow. In placing, the judge gives comments, either brief or detailed depending on what he/she feels is important to point out. But comments are almost always given - especially with the top placing rabbits. Often the judge will explain his 1st placings comparing or giving reason why that animal won. Reasoning for breed placements are always given - even if brief. ie exhibitors always have the opportunity to learn if they just listen. Rabbit judges will sometimes take even a moment to teach at the tables. At placing, or afterwards, some judges may allow a question from the onlookers. He may say - this rabbit is DQd for X reason. Someone is the crowd might then ask - What is that?, What does that look like?, How can that be prevented?, or What genes come into play in this situation? The judge will explain briefly or in more detail if time allows. He will, at least, offer to explain after the breed judging. ei. the judges will teach. You go home with knowledge you can use in your rabbitry or at least know what topics you need to begin study on. Several shows in my state offer Judges' conferences. Judges are required to attend seminars once a year to keep their license. It is continual learning - the judges get better as they gain more information from each other and the exhibitors. These conferences are not only open to judges, however, but to the exhibitors, as well, and are well attended. Either judges or exhibitors have been asked by the district judges' education rep to prepare a presentation and/or give hands on seminars on their specialty. It an excellent teaching tool for judge and exhibitor alike. The ARBA Convention and Show (yearly all breed national show) is now hosting RabbitCon - two full days of seminars taught by rabbit experts from around the world (exhibitors, professors, vets, judges, nutritionists, etc). In short, or not so short, it seems the ARBA is all about learning and it shows in the animals we show and in our connection with each other. How do my children and I learn at poultry shows? Am I missing something obvious? I've seen poultry showmanship and knowledge bowls but that seems to be for 4H members only. I know there is an SOP for each breed but beyond that, how do you learn? The Heritage Breed thread here on BYC has really taken off. I can only imagine that is because of the generous exhibitors and judges who are willing to share. The BYC members are thirsty for knowledge. What's going on here? Am I correct in thinking there might be a disconnect between those who have the knowledge and those who want it? How and where does one learn about quality poultry and how to improve what you have? I mean no offense. I'm just trying to understand.