How to Show Chickens Successfully

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Even the best bird won’t always win.


Showing chickens is exciting.  When people first start, they imagine themselves–and their birds–winning big prizes.  But in reality, this doesn’t always happen.  If you’re really showing your chicken just for the sake of being at the show, winning should be just as fun as losing.  But sometimes it’s not.  Imagine that you’ve had a really bad day, and your prize bird has not placed in any classes.  You’ve been planning for this show for months.  To top it all off, it’s a cold rainy day.  Accept it as a bad show and don’t feel glum.  There’s always another show.  People always say that they don’t care if they win.  I don’t believe a word of it.  It’s better just to acknowledge that you want to win and make it your goal than doing nothing and pretending you don’t want to and then getting all jealous when other people win.  But don’t get into the mindset where you must win at all costs.  Don’t criticize others to make yourself feel better.  This is not a good place to be.

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 A big part of showing is learning to lose.


Showing is a game.  Even if your bird is the best in the class (you think), the judge won’t always think so.  If you do badly after preparing your bird and getting ready for the show, you’ve done your best.  There’s nothing you can do about it.  Accept your loss.  Someone else also put a lot of work in and they happened to do better than you.  Congratulate them and try to do better next time.

Sometimes the quality at a show is just so high that the class placing becomes what the judge likes best.  Sometimes the judge wants to give everyone a ribbon, but there are more birds than ribbons in the class.

Sometimes people win after putting in absolutely no work.  They just get lucky.  Maybe they’re borrowing a winning bird.  Maybe they have a really good coach to teach them showmanship.  Accept that too.  I’m sure this will happen to you sometime.

And when you do win, be nice about it.  You did your best and your best was better than someone else’s that day.  Enjoy it–even the most show-type birds don’t win every time.

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Enjoy your wins–they may be few and far-between.


Showing should be about meeting a standard of excellence, and not being “better” than others.  Once you have achieved excellence through hard work, it sometimes results in a win.  Winning is fun.  It’s true.  But to be a truely successful chicken shower, you need to know how to lose.

BigThingsCoop

–BigThingsCoop


Why You Should Train Your Bird BEFORE Going in Showmanship

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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.

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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.

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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.

BigThingsCoop

–BigThingsCoop