Rock County 4H poultry Project Information

Showmanship Information & Tips

In the poultry project you can make up to 8 entries for fair plus a 9th entry if it is showmanship. Showmanship is a great way to show what you have learned in the project. It is not hard or scary to do. In fact it can be lots of fun.

What do I need to know for poultry showmanship?  Poultry member Kaylyn Lund has found some tips and information for you below. This information is good to know even if you decide not to enter showmanship. We scanned these sheets so it was easier for you to use.

And here is a sample of a judging sheet so you know what you need to know for showmanship. There are different ways of scoring and different sheets used by judges depending on what the they prefer to use.  The one shown has been used in the past for the Rock County fair.

If you have any questions or want more information on your birds there is a book called The American Standards of Perfection that you can purchase. The library may also have a copy for you to borrow. If you can not find a copy feel free to call Gerald Prentice and ask him to look up the info for you in his book, if your leader does not have one. If you plan on being in the poultry project a long time or are serious about poultry I recommend purchasing your own book as it has a lot of valuable information in it. The more you know about your bird the better you will do. Practice holding your birds often. The more comfortable you are talking about them & handling them the better you will do on judging day.


Some helpful tips:

Dress appropriately,no shorts or tank tops ! Most judges prefer you to wear black pants, long sleeved white shirts, hair neat, and have no jewelry. White show/lab coats are encouraged, but are not required. You may also wish to wear a black bow tie.

The reasons why you want to dress nicely is that YOU and your knowlege are the one being judged. It is your professional appearance, knowledge, general health and looks of the bird and how you handle your bird that is judged. The more information you can give to the judge the better !

Some poultry members who have won showmanship say that the more you tell the judge about your animal rather than having him/her ask you, gives you a higher score.

For example you are showing a fantail pigeon.  You would first start off with:

Hi this is my first year in the poultry project and I am showing fantail pigeons. It is considered a fancy bird. There are also pigeons that are for performing like tumblers or utility such as the giant homers which have been used as food. My fantail is a cock.The fantails were originally from Asia and introduced to America in the mid 1800's . I raised my birds from babies. Both of the parents have a part in raising them. They both take turns to sit on the eggs until they hatch and they both feed them. It takes about 18 days to incubate. The parents feed them by producing a thing called pigeon milk. It is not really milk, but is similar. Latter on they are fed by regurgitation which means they eat some food, swallow it in their crop and make it mushy.  They then spit it back up into the babies mouth. After they are weaned from their parents I feed them a mixture of wild bird seed, and some chicken feed. You have to make sure to band them when they are about 7-10 days old. You have to slip the band over their foot when and make sure it stays on. You have to do this when they are very young because if you wait too long the one toe will not bend and the band will not be able to go over the foot.

 There are normally between 30 to 40 or even more tail feathers, and this is about three times the tail feathers of most breeds. When walking,a bird on its front three toes is preferred. Ideally, the body should appear round from any angle,

Fantails are bred in more than fifty colors and marking patterns including selfs; saddles which are all white birds with colored wing shields, and tailmarks, which are all white birds with colored tails. My bird is a called a splash.

Pigeons are very hardy birds, but they must be kept in dry & clean coops. Some diseases they can get are:Canker, colds, pneumonia and diarrhea (from spoiled feed) or they can get egg bound, where the hen can't pass a egg. If she can't pass it it can kill her.

Then I point out the parts of the bird and show how you are to carry it and handle it. 

Then I ask do you have any questions for me?

Sometimes the judge will interrupt you and ask questions

Tip: Remember to ALWAYS put the head in first and take the bird out of a cage head first, or when handing the bird to the judge it is HEAD first. WHY? because the danger end, or the end where they poop is away from you and if they should go potty they will not get you or the other person you are handing it to. Also it helps to keep the feathers nice.

As I said this is just an example, you can try and make some sort of presentation up for what works for you. If you are a younger member just study the specifics of your bird and let the judge ask you questions. Don't be afraid of the judge. They are friendly and will help you to become a better project member. Make sure to ask questions if you have any and listen to the suggestions the judges give you. Most of all have FUN ! that is what the project is all about.