Blackie, a bantam Cochin, is my favorite hen to show. She’s well-behaved and has won several championships and grand championships.
You should really train your bird to be picked up the correct way before going in showmanship. Otherwise, you may find your bird perched on your arm, or worse, your head. Handle the bird when it’s young to get the best showmanship bird. And make sure you know the correct way to pick up a bird. We handle our birds at home by not picking them up the way you are supposed to because they’re not used to it. But the birds we’re planning to take in showmanship get picked up the right way in preparation for the show.
Bantams are ideal for showmanship.
Also, not all birds are fun to take in showmanship. Out of our 23 birds, there are only 3 good showmanship chickens. Bantams are ideal because they’re smaller and you don’t have to work hard to pick them up. Also, it’s harder when a 7-pound Jersey Giant misbehaves. The absolute worst showmanship bird is one you can’t pick up without it perching on your arm. Everyone will be staring at you in the showmanship class as it claws you and you try to shake it off.
Not all birds are good for showmanship.
Handle your bird a lot before the show. Make sure it is fine with being turned upside down to show the keel, having its wings stretched out, and standing calmly on the table without flying off. If your bird likes to fly, it’s usually OK if you keep a hand on its back. After you’ve practiced with your bird, there’s a better chance of it behaving at the show.
Tip for if you get into the round robin: the trick to winning is to show the biggest, nastiest bird you can handle and win with. Other people will bring their huge rabbits, wild geese, and grumpy guinea pigs. Also, know as much as you can about other peoples’ animals. Offer to teach them how to show your bird in exchange for learning about their animal.