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Showing Advice

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If you are thinking of showing your chickens, there is some great advice here from Redwing who regularly shows her Wyandotte Bantams.

Some general tips:


present the bird nice and clean, if you are going to bathe them do it a week in advance if possible.


Bathing - use dog/horse/baby shampoo in warm water (add to the water not directly on the chook) soak the bird and gently massage in the water but never against the feathers, wipe away suds then rinse in another bowl/sink of clean warm water with a drop of white vinegar added (if you have any) Wipe away as much water as possible then blot with a towel and leave to dry naturally if possible in a box indoors overnight, dont use a hairdryer if you can avoid it


If you arent going to bathe them make sure the vent area is very clean - wash just that bit if you have to


Clean legs make a difference, a soft toothbrush and washing up liquid do a good job of cleaning them, a toothpick used very gently to run under the edges of the scales will get rid of any dirt (be gentle) If you are bathing the bird do the legs first in separate water so the main bath doesnt get grubby


withdraw food and water last thing the night before the show


Box the chooks up carefully, dont wreck your hard work by cramming them in to a tiny box!


On arrival at the show find your 'penning slip' this is usually the form you sent off to enter, it will have your pen numbers on it


find your pens and spread out the little pile of shavings in it (dont add any more shavings, they are sp"Ooops, word censored!" so the judges can see the legs and feet of the bird)


Use a bit of baby oil/vaseline on the comb and legs of the chook wiping off any excess, if you dont have any then some gentle handcream will do - dont get it on the feathers


Place the bird in the cage and tame any flyaway feathers


Once the judging is done the prize cards go out. if you have won a first the red card is put back to front - dont water of feed your bird at this stage. If the card is second or third then your bird will go no further in the competition and you can feed and water it (take a galley pot for water, food can be thrown in to the cage)


If you have a first prize dont turn the prize card over, the judges will judge the best in each class so shouldnt be able to see the names of the owners. once the champions row (best of each category) is decided then birds can be fed and watered


If you are lucky enough to get to champions row you need to wait for Best in Show and Reserve to be decided before you can give food and water. Red cards can then be turned over


If you plan to show regularly then keep the legs clean! wash them every couple of weeks it saves so much work in the long term


Dont show birds that are moulting, pale or are under the weather in any way


Clipped wings are frowned upon and the bird is unlikely to get a prize


At the show the judge will take the bird out of the pen and look at it all over, he will spread the wings out in turn. Its always best to make sure your chooks is calm when being handled and to get it used to being in a pen by using a dog crate or similar to practice at home


With the cross breed birds the judge will look at condition, basic confirmation ie: straight toes, even wattles, straight comb etc.. I guess they'll also look to see if the bird encompasses the best of both the breeds in its make up


With the Welsummer things will be a bit more structured, they will be looking for the bird that best fits the breed standard, its worth reading up on this to make sure your bird doesnt have any major faults. Legs should be yellow, beak should be yellow or horn coloured, eyes should be red, underfluff of feathers should be grey, there are specifics regarding plumage colours on neck, wings and tail etc.. there is an allocation of up to 100 points with different points for different characteristics (you dont get to know your scores, its all done in the judges head!)


Dont get too hung up on it, just check that your bird doesnt have anything that would immediately discount it


If you dont do well wait until all the judging is done and politely ask the judge for feedback, they are usually very happy to give you some pointers


I hope you do decide to show and have a good day out, showing is very addictive and large fowl need more support at shows


Good luck :D




The optimum age for a pullet is that perfect time just before she lays her first egg! thats quite hard to scientifically pinpoint though!lots of breeders will tweak the diet to delay onset of laying


In general you are looking for the bird to be more or less mature so about 9 months for large fowl and 6 months for bantams


You may see 'youngstock' or 'current year bred' classes at shows, dont make the mistake of thinking these are for immature birds, they are for birds that are 'more or less' mature I went to a show yeaterday where some poor person had entered really young birds who were confused by it all and spent the day looking miserable. If you have a bird thats young but looking quite mature these are good 'practice' classes to get the bird used to the process


For birds that are already over a year old then the perfect time to show is when they have had their yearly moult but have recovered their condition


Birds in a breeding pen lose condition too


This is why the main serious show season is over the winter - mid Oct to end of Feb (aprox)


Most poultry show people are very friendly and happy to offer advice, its a great social world and if you take it a little bit seriously you will be encouraged :D


The 'big' poultry shows are all well worth a visit for those interested in showing, some of these are: The National Poultry Show, The Welsh National, The Scottish National, Reading Bantam Classic, High Peak and the Federation - Omlet people often meet up for a coffee at some of these :D


Your local poultry club is also a good start, they will probably hold at least one if not two shows a year

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