Entered Your First Poultry Show?  How to prepare your Bird

Entered Your First Poultry Show? How to prepare your Bird

May 31, 2024angelique van zuylen

Firstly congratulations on signing up for your first show!

There are many ways to get your birds ready for a show and many exhibitors that have shared their methods online but here’s a basic list of what you should do.

  • At shows birds are judged against a written standard. Many public libraries will have copies of the New Zealand Poultry Standard Book otherwise the most up to date edition is available from Poultry NZ.

How to Prepare you Poultry 

  • Read the show rules.
  • Wash your birds.
    • The three bucket method is a popular way to wash birds. Fill a bucket with warm water and whatever soap you decide to use. Fill another up with plain warm water. Fill the last up with a bit of vinegar and warm water. The final bucket helps to remove an soap that’s left after dipping them in the first 2 buckets.
    • A toothbrush works great for scrubbing feet, combs, heads or stubborn stains.
    • Be sure to not get water in your bird's ears.
    • Cotton swabs work well for sensitive facial areas.
    • It is recommended that you wash no later than 3 days before a show so that feathers can replenish their natural oils.
    • Separating them from your other birds and clean, deep bedding will help with stay clean until the show.
  • Trim your birds nails, beaks and spurs as needed.
      • You can use a pair of nail clippers or a Dremel with a sanding tip works great, too.
  • Make sure birds are free of Lice and Leg Mite Chook Manor Red Mite & Lice Treatment Products
  • Birds must have good toes, NOT bent or crooked
  • Poultry (excluding game) Only males can have Spurs
  • Birds to have all their feathers and are untrimmed
  • If possible get your bird used to being in a show cage and being handled so it is nice and calm for the judge.
  • Put some comb dressing on your bird so they look extra healthy.  

What should you bring with you to the show?

  • VetRx or other similar product
    • Use sparingly to help bring out color in your birds’ combs, wattles and legs.
  • Cotton swabs for touch ups
  • Baby wipes or towel to clean up poop on feet, etc.
  • Cash for auction, prize drawing or buying exhibitors birds.
  • Any paperwork needed

Common Questions

  • Is there a dress code for youth showmanship?
    • No, there is no dress code but this changes from club to club so be sure to check each show you are attending.
  • Is there a minimum age for junior showmanship?
    • 8+ Years.
  • I think that bird looks nicer than the one that won. How are the birds judged?
    • Birds are judged against a Standard of Perfection. This outlines every aspect of the bird from body structure to colors and patterns. It also lists features that make for an automatic DQ (disqualification) and other features that are just faults where points will be deducted. No bird is absolutely perfect but the one that the judge selects as Best of Breed is the closest to that particular judge’s interpretation of the SOP. Judges may have different interpretations of the SOP which is why different judge’s at the same show may choose different birds as their winners.

Wanting to Join your Local Canterbury Poultry Club?
get in touch today!

Christchurch Poultry Bantam and pigeon Club

North Canterbury Poultry and Pigeon Club 

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