Young or Old Preparing for that First Show

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Laingcroft, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. Laingcroft

    Laingcroft Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 22, 2011
    For parents with kids interested in showing - who are not yet part of 4-H - and adults who feel they have a nice bird and want to show, getting ready for that first show can be really intimidating. I know! So I thought I'd start this thread with the limited information I have and the hope that others will chime in with their experiences and/or advice.

    Since I'd been involved in dog shows as a youth and young adult, hunter/jumpers as a teen and rabbit shows pretty recently, I didn't feel too nervous about entering a poultry show for the first time. We're already NPIP certified so I wasn't worried about that but for those who are not you have two options. Ask the show secretary (listed in the catalog) if a NPIP tester will be present or contact your State's NPIP representative (you can find that information here: ) for a list of local testers. Remember that in some states the testers are volunteers with busy schedules of their own so make plans far enough in advance of the show.

    Most important, be prepared for a long day. Bring plenty of food, water and cups for the chickens. Bring plenty of food, water, medications (antacids, aspirin, allergy pills, etc.) that you may need. And spare toilet paper! At some rural fairgrounds there are only porti-potties. A few binder clips or string may come in handy for keeping the coop door secure until judging. One of my coop doors would pop open any time someone bumped into or opened a door along the connecting row.

    When you arrive at the show it may not be clear where to sign in. Don't be afraid to ask! Most of the folks I ran into are very helpful...unless they are busy hauling in carriers of birds obviously. At the show I attended we were instructed to pick up a list with all the exhibitors. Next to your name will be a number. That number is your exhibitor number and will be marked on the coop card where your birds will be caged. This list is also very helpful in finding the owner of the birds you admire as you walk around. Other shows may be different --- I can't say not having been to any others.

    Prepping the chickens. This would be a good question to ask on your particular breed thread. We saw silkies being fluffed and dried outside the show building. People who frequent the show location know where to find the power plug ins and water pumps. Again, don't be afraid to ask. The show we attended was in late November in VA. It was cold and windy outside and colder inside the building. Some exhibitors were rubbing VetRx on their cock's combs. I saw others spraying various and sundry stuff on their idea what. My Houdans got a bath four days before the show and were separated into "show" cages to keep them clean.

    Bring plenty of money! Silent auctions of fowl, raffles and Chinese auctions of fowl themed tchochkes, bags of feed, carriers, etc. are common fundraisers at the shows (I notice this in lots of livestock shows, not so much dog shows.) There may also be vendors and a sale barn. Food may or may not be provided onsite. The show we attended was supposed to have breakfast and lunch, but the vendor didn't arrive until lunch time. We went offsite for much needed coffee after settling the birds in.

    Coop out. I didn't know anything about this and was saved from making a faux pas by and adjacent exhibitor. At this particular show you had to wait for a designated time before you could take your birds and leave. I understand some shows have different policies. If it isn't clear to you, it is a good idea to ask when you check in. (For those of you familiar with benched dog shows like Westminster, this is the same thing. The chickens must remain on site until released by the show secretary.)

    Another thing I noticed and plan to carry for my next show --- heavy, self draping CLEAR vinyl to put on the side/back walls of the coops. I noticed this particularly in the game breeds section to keep the cocks from fussing at each other through the bars. I also like the idea of keeping interaction/exposure between my birds and the other birds to a minimum. Be sure to ask if this is okay before putting them up and remember it must be clear - not opaque.

    Please add your questions and advice!
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
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