Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Showtime & Poultry Showmanship Basics

As a mom, especially a homeschooling mom, I'm always in search of ways to provide new experiences and opportunities for my kids.  So, when a friend and fellow "chicken lady" asked if my kids wanted to show thier chickens at a local poultry show I was excited.  Then...I was nervous!  Once I realized how much was involved, I became a bit overwhelmed.  After all, we didn't have any knowledge or experience showing chickens!  We've only been chicken parents for about a year!  What had I gotten them into? 

When I came to my senses...breathe Tiff, breathe...I realized it didn't matter.  It was a fun opportunity for them to show off a new found passion and meet other like minded kids. 

Now that we've done it and have our first show under our belts, we are counting the days to their next one!  It was an incredible experience and they had so much fun!  We did meet some great "chicken folks", learned from a very encouraging judge, brought home some nice awards (YEP! They placed!), and my kids gained confidence and knowledge about their beloved pets!  Showing poultry has become a hobby they're quite compassionate about!
Each of my three children registered two birds and signed up to participate in the showmanship part of the show.  Over the next couple of weeks we're going to share with you how we prepared for and handled our first show and keep you up to date on how we're preparing for our next one.  Of course, we MUST post our next show results too, come November 13th!

Our hopes that if your children (or you!) are interested in showing thier chickens, some of our posts may make it easier, provide you with some accurate resources, and motivate you to just give it a try!
My first recommendation is to find out exactly WHAT a poultry show entails.  Since showmanship is something that could take a bit of study time, I wanted to focus our first post on that.

The APA ABA Youth Poultry Club introduces showmanship in this way,

"The purpose of poultry showmanship is for the exhibitor to have the opportunity to prove to the judge that the exhibitor is knowledgeable about poultry in general, their showmanship bird and that he or she possesses the proper handling ability. Proper handling means that he or she can catch, restrain and hold the bird without hurting it and without that bird hurting the handler.

Showmanship is the time for the exhibitor to be judged, not the bird per se’ since the bird has already been judged.It's the exhibitor's time to shine. "
I LOVE this part!  I was particularly interestesd in them participating in this category!  Obtaining the skills required to present themselves properly will benefit them throughout thier lives!  Being confident in doing so, especially in front of adults they're not familiar with and an audience is a great tool for them to develop.   Showmanship also requires the kids to be knowledgeable and compassionate about their chickens.  It aids them in being responsible pet (chicken) owners an ethical, quality breeders should they decide to take that route.  Our judge encouraged all of the children to learn about breeding according to the APA standards. 
We were quite blessed with the judge at our show.  He was a natural with the kids and kept the kids (and adults) attention during the entire process with his knowledge and love for showing poultry.   
To prepare for the showmanship portion we initially searched You Tube looking for videos about youth poultry shows and more specifically, showmanship. 
It was a little intimidating, some of the kids in the videos were true professionals! 
Here are some of our favorites:  
Chicken Showmanship Demonstration
What is a poultry showmanship presentation?
Examples of poultry showmanship?  
We visited a site sponsored by the American Poultry Association for youth interested in showing, The APA ABA Youth Poultry Club website.  This site has a WEALTH of information!  Bookmark it, visit it often, anything and everything the kids might need to study for showmanship can be found on their website.  We especially frequented their Educational Material found here
On that page you'll find worksheets you can download and print for the kids.  If you look under the Showmanship heading on this page and choose the age group appropriate for your kids.  Pee Wee is ages 4-7, Junior is ages 8-10, Intermediate is ages 11-13, and Senior is ages 14 and over.  These pages provide you with questions the judges ask for showmanship.  These are just suggestions and the judges may ask a different question here and there but they cover a good amount of the basics.  My kids had fun printing them out and then quizzing each other.  Part of the fun was looking for answers we didn't know.  We used many of our poultry and chicken magazines and books and the Internet.
Don't be overwhelmed!  There's a LOT of information here and a LOT of information for them to learn but remember, it's for FUN!!  I initally did my over-achiever mom thing and wanted them to know it ALL but more than anything, they should know THIER birds. :)  My kids love their birds and they actively participate in taking care of them so they were already familiar with much of what the judge asked them.  These resources should help make it more fun, not stressful :).  Trust me, the joy for us came in the experience! 
 My daughters didn't place in the showmanship category, they have no regrets.  They were ecstatic for their new friends who did place and were excited to get home, study more, and practice together for their next show on November 13th!
Chance placed 3rd in showmanship!  He was shocked, I was so proud.  We really didn't expect to place at our first show so it was a blessed surprise.  He also couldn't wait to get back home and study up on the things the judge spoke with him about to prepare him for his next show! 


Next week we'll go over how we prepared the birds for the show, including information on testing, bathing, and choosing your birds! Have a blessed week! Love & Blessings, Tiffany


  1. Awesome info! Thank you so much for sharing! I may be picking your brain here in the future, as my daughter is entering her first year in 4-H with chickens. Can't wait to read what you post next! :)

  2. Tina, The kids and I are happy to help anytime! :) I'm going to be adding to this post over the next few days. They would like me to add some of the questions the judge actually asked them about their bird. You'll love the photos of thier first baths as well! Thanks for stopping by and good luck! It's a lot of fun!

  3. Great Info, we'll be sharing your blog on our Facebook page!! Love the pictures too!

  4. Thanks so much! Thanks for putting the show on! Tomorrow is the VPBA and we feel more confident after attending the Hartwood Days first! We'll be back next year!