Assessing the Show Quality of Poultry

Article by Laura Haggarty
Pathfinders Farm

Part of my problem with critiquing a bird based on photos alone is that photos only show a small part of the story.

Photos can be very deceptive. Color can be off, black can show up that isn't there, and the angle of a photo can make a bird look wider or longer or shorter than it really is.

To really assess a bird, you have to pick them up, feel their weight, feel the straightness of their keels, feel the depth of their breasts and the width of their chests, and feel the straightness of their pelvic bones.

Photos only show half the story. It’s why a judge opens a cage and takes bird out when he judges it. If that weren’t important, they wouldn’t bother, they’d just walk down the line and make their decision based on looks alone. But looks are not all there is too it. Weight, feather quality, and all the rest is so important.

This is why I won't comment on someone's "line" whose birds I have never seen, much less handled. If I haven't handled your birds, I can't begin to make a comment on them, because I don't really know what they're like.

So when someone goes online and starts critiquing other people's lines and they haven't actually handled the birds, I say, take that criticism with a big grain of salt, because they may be basing their comments on hearsay, photos, and stuff they read elsewhere.

And no one should ever base their breeding program on how a given bird does at a show either. Anyone who does is doing themselves a disservice. Just because a given bird wins at a given show or two doesn't necessarily mean the bird should become the foundation for your breeding program. There are other factors that should be considered as well. Remember, it's just one judge looking at your bird on one day. How does the bird look the other 364 days of the year? That is so much more important.

What can we help you find? Search the website:

If you'd like to receive monthly updates of new poultry shows and swap meets we've found, become a PSC Insider.

Subscribe to the PSC Insider Newsletter:

* indicates required

Return to the Home Page

What's New Around Here?

  1. PA - Silkies

    Varieties: Blue, Splash, and White Silkies Blue, Splash Frizzled Silkies and Naked Neck Silkies Sells: Chicks and Started Birds Website: http://www.applejackaraucanas.com

  2. FL - Bantam Black Tail White Japanese

    They come from Show Quality stock but are not show quality due to having long legs. They are very sweet birds great for cleaning the bugs out of the yard.

  3. FL - Bantam White Leghorns

    We have chicks that hatched out about a month ago. They come from Show Quality stock. They are very sweet birds great for young 4H kids. Email annikalfischer29@gmail.com

  4. Smithfield Tractor Supply Swap

    Information on the Smithfield Tractor Supply Swap

  5. Suffolk Tractor Supply Swap

    Information on the Suffolk Tractor Supply Swap

  6. Peachstate Poultry Association's "Just Peachy" Premier

    Information on the Peachstate Poultry Association's "Just Peachy" Premier