Our daughter loves the American Standard of Perfection. She studies it, takes it with her in the car and loves to be quizzed on the breeds and varieties. The Backyard Poultry magazine, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and hatchery catalogs are all pored over and studied, because she loves her chickens! She is on her way to becoming a poultry expert. Showmanship has been a great outlet for showcasing all she has learned and is an opportunity to learn how to verbally express to an attentive judge the knowledge that is stored in her head.
Showmanship competitions are one of the highlights of poultry shows for the juniors. Judges are looking for professional, knowledgeable junior fanciers who know how to handle their birds and can communicate what they have learned.
One thing we have learned is that no two competitions are the same. Some shows are very formal with white lab coats required, many age groups, and significant recognition and prizes for the winners. Sometimes they get to talk to the actual judge for the show. Other times, some other knowledgeable poultry expert is asked to do the interviewing. Sometimes everyone gets the same questions to answer and your time with the judge is limited. Sometimes you are asked to just share everything you know about your bird (which can take quite awhile for some juniors!)
Rule #1 for showmanship is know your bird. Know how to handle them well, hold them securely, put them into a cage headfirst, pose them in the cage, and remove them headfirst. Know their anatomy (the more the merrier), their class and varieties, and how they compare to the American Stardard of Perfection. Know their strengths and their faults.
Rule #2 for showmanship is to keep talking! If a judge asks a question, don't just answer with a one word answer - share everything you can think of that you know about the topic (and then some more!) Judges like to see you have a wide base of knowledge about poultry.
Rule #3 for showmanship is be professional. Judges like to see neat, respectful juniors. Speak clearly, be relaxed and make eye contact. Wear a white lab coat and be sure to thank the judge when you are done.
Rule #4 is keep learning. This isn't a test to cram for; it's an opportunity to gradually become an expert in all things poultry. The next generation of judges, breeders, and exhibition fanciers will come out of this "class" of participants. Learn it while you're young because it's so much harder to "teach an old dog new tricks". Judges like to ask at least one random chicken knowledge question such as, "Do chickens have teeth?" (Before you proudly say "no", remember peeps are born with an egg tooth, which is what the judge was testing to see if the juniors knew about).
We have enjoyed working on this continued learning as a family by quizzing "chicken trivia" when we're in the car, waiting in line or doing our chores. Our daughter has written a list of trivia questions she has learned about in the past year and will be updating the page with 20 new questions each month. Test your own knowledge and learn some new information for your next showmanship competition here, if you're up for the challenge.
Let the competition begin!
Did you get a really tricky question from a judge? Do you have any tips for new showmanship participants? Do you have pictures from you last showmanship competition? Share it!
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Make showmanship fun!
My name is Kirsten and I am in high school. I have always loved chickens whether they are my show project or just backyard pets. Chickens are one of my …
Smile! Not rated yet
Always smile when the judge looks at you. Be genuine! This is coming from a 4-H showman of many years.
Study Not rated yet
I have been doing chicken showmanship for almost four years. And in all that time, only just a couple of months ago I was asked a knowledge question about …
Poultry Not rated yet
Always keep eyes on judge.
Another Showmanship Question Not rated yet
My first year in 4H showmanship I was asked what the facial feathers of an Ameraucauna were called, it is very important to know and don't guess. (Beard …
NEW TRIVIA QUESTION Not rated yet
What breed of American class chicken did not originate in the USA? The Chantecler (originated in Canada) This was the question that finally stumped my …