As your interest and affection for your chickens grows, you will want to share them with the world. Perhaps your kids want a project for 4-H or FFA. It’s time to take the next step and exhibit them at a poultry show.
If you haven’t been to a poultry show yet, find one and go. Poultry Show Central keeps a comprehensive list of shows around the country. You’ll see chickens you never imagined and have the chance to talk to their breeders. Vendors have all kinds of chicken paraphernalia for sale. You won’t feel like the only person who understands how wonderful chickens are. Radiostation KCRW gives you the sounds of a poultry show in its report on the 2013 Ventura Bash at the Beach Poultry Show.
|Judge Bill Patterson examines a Cochin's wing.|
Shows are organized by clubs and other associations, so being a member is the first step. The American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association certify poultry judges, so they are involved in overseeing any show at which poultry are judged by certified judges. APA judge Bill Patterson examines a Cochin’s wing at the 2010 Sea Side Feather Fanciers’ seventh annual Bash at the Beach.
|Showing your chickens is a great achievement.|
APA certification assures that the judge has met its standards. Certified judges are required to qualify for points toward its Master, Grandmaster and other awards.
Specialty breed clubs generally hold their own ‘meets’ at poultry shows. They award their own separate prizes.
Ribbons, plaques and prizes are awarded, such as Michael Tuyls’ Chantecler Grand Champion Bantam and Reserve Show Champion White Chantecler bantam cock. Money prizes are nominal, but it’s gratifying to get recognition among your peers for your achievements.
Young people in FFA and 4-H have additional events, such as this Showmanship event at the Golden State Poultry Show. The Quiz Bowl at a local show gives students an opportunity to learn to think on their feet. Elimination competitions lead to national events that offer scholarships and other substantial recognition.
Showmanship classes place students in a one-to-one examination with the judge. The judge interviews the young poultry owner on poultry knowledge and ability to handle his or her bird. It gives young enthusiasts an arena in which to show off their best birds and shine.
Get all the relevant paperwork assembled and submitted before the deadline. Make sure your entries are recorded and you will be permitted to show. Some shows allow walk-ins, but many require pre-registration.
Be on time. With many exhibitors bringing multiple birds to a show, cooping in is hectic under the best conditions. Be courteous to your fellow exhibitors. Be patient.
|Golden Laced Hamburg|
Informational cards describing your birds can be helpful in explaining the history and background of your breed in general and your birds in particular. Shows are an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of poultry.
Never touch another person’s bird. If you see a situation that concerns you, find the owner and inform him. Touching birds has overtones of interfering with the competition by breaking feathers or other nefarious activity.
Feed and water according to show advice. Some breeds, like Old English Games, do not show well with a full crop. If water has been temporarily removed, reassure concerned members of the public that the chickens are not being deprived and will soon have free access to water again.
Participate in your events and support your fellow exhibitors. A responsive audience is rewarding to exhibitors who have taken trouble to put their best birds forward. Classes like Showmanship benefit from an audience, because part of the challenge is to be able to think under pressure. Be respectful. Be appreciative.
Do not interrupt the judge or attempt to converse with him or her in any way. This smacks of attempts to influence the judging. Stay away from the judging area until judging is complete.
Stay until all prizes have been awarded. Give everyone the courtesy of admiration during their time in the winners’ circle.
Be a gracious winner. Kind words of fellowship and encouragement are always welcome.