Where is the learning in showing? Exhibitors? Judges?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by ChickenPotPie, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. ChickenPotPie

    ChickenPotPie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  2. snowbird

    snowbird Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:First there are some very knowledgeable Poultry Judges here on BYC, several on the Heritage thread, also the President of the APA.

    I suggest you locate a long time poultry show person that will be at a show you are attending and ask your questions while at the show. Get one of the older breeders to be a mentor to you and your children. Most will help if asked.
     
  3. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    FRom the poultry shows I've attended i haven't learned squat about my birds. They county fair judge is waaaaaaay more helpful then the ones at the actual poultry show. At the state fair I did get a comment out of a judge but all I got was "Nice hen" and that was it. Didn't tell me whats wrong with her or whats good about her. I know she wasn't perfect because she didn't get BB or RB. The same birds got last at the Central Indiana show. Which the last few years she has gotten BV. So who knows [​IMG] If you have bantam wyandottes goodluck showing them. The judges are favoring bunnytails in them now a days. What I'm kinda saying some judges don't even go by the standard.
     
  4. snowbird

    snowbird Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Where I am from in Michigan most County Fair Judge are not licensed by APA or ABA. Different Judge possible different placing.
     
  5. ChickenPotPie

    ChickenPotPie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I have so enjoyed the Heritage breed thread. [​IMG] It would be wonderful for these people to chime in.

    It seems that short of finding a mentor, which seems much like needing a sponsor just to access knowledge that, I would think, should be readily available, I have not had any other advice given. [​IMG] I've asked "How can I learn more about breeding quality poultry?" at shows before, to exhibitors and judges alike.
     
  6. snowbird

    snowbird Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:I have so enjoyed the Heritage breed thread. [​IMG] It would be wonderful for these people to chime in.

    It seems that short of finding a mentor, which seems much like needing a sponsor just to access knowledge that, I would think, should be readily available, I have not had any other advice given. [​IMG] I've asked "How can I learn more about breeding quality poultry?" at shows before, to exhibitors and judges alike.

    First question do you have a APA or ABA standard of perfection, If you do go over your breed and variety with the Standard and then come to BYC with pictures and post in the breed specific threads of the breeds you are showing.
     
  7. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    When you consider that one judge has approximately 500 birds to judge in a given show in a matter of hours, that's alot to do and not alot of time to do it in. MOST of the time, if you have specific questions, the judges are more than willing to offer an opinion, answer questions, or explain their placements after the judging is over, if you ask nicely. Also, at an APA or ABA sanctioned show, they have to have at least 1 APA licensed judge, which are less than plentiful, so many times they have flown in late the night before or early that morning, spend all day judging and then have to turn around and fly home...which can make anyone tired, cranky, and not wanting to "chat" if ya know what I mean...

    Also, many poultry organizations have educational seminars / learning opportunities available. I would suggest you find and join a local poultry club (aside from 4H)...there are LOTS of breeders and long time show people to learn from and talk to, as well as the opportunities I already mentioned. [​IMG]

    eta: Also, if you raise a certain breed or two, joining your breed club will offer invaluable educational opportunities! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  8. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    I can only really speak for myself & I am always willing to talk about birds & how they placed AFTER judging is over. It's inaapropriate to discuss a bird with it's owner during the judging & in fact I've heard of judges disqualifying a bird because the owner identified himself & his/her bird during the judging.
    I can't remember a show where someone hasn't asked me about their bird & I always take the time to review their birds with them. I can confidently say I have never refused such a request & I also see other judges doing the same thing. If you haven't asked for feedback I don't think you have the right to complain about not having received feedback.
    Another avenue for garnering information at a poultry show is to talk to other exhibitors. Most people I know are only too happy to talk about their birds & in some ways may be a better resource than a judge. For example I, as a judge may know what a Buff Prplington should look like but I'd be at a loss to offer breeding advice as I've never raised them.
    You mentioned the connection between rabbit breeders & implied this connection doesn't exist between poultry breeders. This couldn't be further from the truth. I look forward to poultry shows as much for the people as for the showing. I know people from all over the country that I met through poultry shows. Bob Blosl, who posts on this board & I have never met face to face but I consider him a friend. Our connection is our appreciation for Rhode Island Red Bantams. We've exchanged emails & phone calls for years talking about Reds & other subjects.
    A few years back I was visited by a mink & my bantam ranks were all but wiped out. People who had gotten birds from me Helped me reestablish my flocks. In one case someone who was done hatching for the year put his breeding pens back together to hatch me some chicks. When my oldest daughter was in high school she broke her leg badly & was home-bound for several weeks. An exhibitor I know called me from West Virginia to ask how my daughter was doing. I hadn't told her about the accident but she heard it through the chicken grape vine.
    I could spend the rest of the day giving examples of connectedness in the poultry world but don't have the time.
    I guess I'd suggest you reach out a little more & complain a little less. I think you'll find all the support you need if you just ask for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  9. akcountrygrrl

    akcountrygrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ChickenPotPie, that's a lovely JW you have as your avatar. Are you going to Convention? My daughter raises JWs and loves them. I raise and exhibit Flemish and Tans. Both of us raise various breeds of cavies. We too find there is a huge difference between poultry and rabbit/cavy judging, heck, most other species for that matter. We have the same thing at our local fair where for open judging the cages are roped off but they only do one aisle at a time. I'll typically follow along on the next row watching what the judge is doing and listening to his comments to the superintendent and the recorder. Our 4-H exhibitors are required to follow along listening to the judges comments. Another thing I've done when I can't spend all day following along is find the judge afterwards and ask questions about specific birds. They are usuallly more than happy to give pointers and recommendations. I've also found the Poultry SOP to be quite helpful when it comes to selecting birds. But, much like rabbits, different judges look at different things and the animal who placed 1st one day could place dead last the next.
     
  10. ultasol

    ultasol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    You have to approach the judges after judging. Like so many other things in life, you get out of your show experience what you put in. At larger shows, there is often a judge or two there showing birds, not judging. Approach them. Approach other exhibitors of your breed of choice. Ask for critiques, seek out information. I have learned SO MUCH by showing that I wouldn't have otherwise. If a bird places high or low, I seek out why.
    Be patient and considerate about asking questions, sometimes the judges are super busy or an exhibitor is indisposed. Asking never hurts. I have had many positive experiences.
     

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