Hints for First Time Poultry ExhibitorsDecember 28, 2011
The following blog was written for us by James Konecny, who is the president of the International Waterfowl Breeders Association and keeps and shows ducks and geese. The pictures were taken at the Eastern Iowa Poultry Show in Iowa City, IA.
Proper transport to the show is very important so as not to ruin the time and effort spent in the weeks leading up to the show. Handle the birds with care, never catch them by the wings or tails. Each bird should be crated individually if possible with each crate being an appropriate size for the breed. A nice bedding of shavings in each crate will help keep the birds clean.
At the show prepare the show cages before you place the birds in them, add additional shavings and place appropriate water and feed containers to fit each breed. I recommend bringing your own feed and a watering can with your name on it.
A bit of house keeping should also be done. Remove any litter and feathers then add a few fresh shavings on top of the old ones. Waterfowl love to pull and eat the coop tags, if this happens contact a show official to have them replaced.
A nicely cleaned and conditioned bird should not need too much preparation before judging. Cleaning the bill and feet and wiping off any soiled feathers with a damp cloth is advised. You do not want to interfere with the natural lay of the feathers. Some breeds require more prep than others. For example, using an oil product such as baby oil or Vet-Rx on Brown Chinese and Brown African knobs certainly improves their appearance. Don’t fuss with the birds too much as this can have an adverse effect.
Be a good sport, it is only one show and one opinion. Just because a bird wins one show doesn’t mean its going to win in another.
I do not recommend watering and feeding the birds during transport. If your trip is twelve or more hours stop and give the birds a quick snack and beverage. Many times you are going to arrive back at your farm after dark. Know your birds. If your birds get stressed and frightened in the dark, wait to put them away until morning. Before all birds are returned to their home they should be sprayed with a quick shot of Frontline or Adams Flea and Tick spray. This will remove any lice or mites the birds may have picked up at the show.
All practices mentioned are what I have observed and used over the years. Enjoy your birds, have fun at the shows. Observe, Learn and Participate.