Tips for Showing Your Chickens at a Poultry Show or Country Fair
If you intend to get involved with showing our poultry, and specifically your chickens. There are many shows for chickens, country fairs, bird shows, and 4H shows. Preparing for the show starts months before hand.
Tame Your Chickens
The chickens you take to the show must be friendly and tame when handled. The judge will be picking them up and examining your birds. A flighty, or scared, chicken will not do well. Once you have your birds tamed relatively well have other people hold them so they are use to being handled by strangers too. Make sure to bring them into your house so they are use to being in unusual settings.
Get your chickens use to being in a small wire cage; starting about a week before the show confine your birds in such cages for about 30 minutes per day.
A proper diet is a must. Until 18 weeks the chicks need to have a high protein diet, after that they should be fed a good diet according to if they are layers or meat birds. They should be kept well fed but not allowed to get overly fat.
Be sure to follow poultry vaccination guidelines and requirements for your area. Each show may ask for proof of vaccinations, and some require blood work. You should be aware of the requirements before you arrive at the show.
How to Select Your Chickens for the Show
Prior to the show you will want to select the best chickens to take. Be familiar with the breed standards and select accordingly. Laying hens should have a soft abdomen, the pubic bone should be at least 2 to 3 fingers wide and at least 3 fingers width behind the breastbone, and should have been laying for at least a month. Meat birds should have lots of meat and a larger breast and leg, being wide across the top of their body.
If you are showing a trio of chickens, make sure they are uniform as the judge will want to see a consistency in your flock.
Washing your Chickens
Chickens should be washed two days before going to the show. White chickens may need to be bathed more than once. Use warm water and mild dish detergent. Rinse using a lemon water as this will help make them shine and will enhance their colors. Dry the bird with a towel and blow drier on low setting (make sure it is dry before you put it away or it can get sick), lay the feathers flat in the right direction. The day before the show the chicken's legs should be washed again.
Always check for signs of mites or lice while washing your chickens.
You should apply canola oil, baby oil, or petroleum jelly to the legs, beak, and wattles, to make them look better.
At the Show
Chickens are kept in small pens prior to being judged, you need to keep an eye on your bird's cage to make sure it is clean at all times. Check your chicken to make sure its feathers are in good shape and not damaged by the caging.
Showing chickens is rewarding and part of the fun of raising them.