Showing bantams

If you have never shown before here are a few useful pointers:

  • Read the schedule very carefully to make sure you enter the right birds in the right class.
    Birds entered in the wrong class will not be judged.
    If you are not sure ask the show secretary or a more experienced fancier for advice before filling in your entry form - they will be happy to help.
  • Note the closing date for entries and send your entry in in good time -  for the larger shows this can be well in advance of the show.

    Make a note of what birds you have entered in what classes -  it is easy to forget and not all shows send out penning slips in advance, at some shows you will need to collect them from the show secretary when you arrive.
  • Start pen training your birds early - it is no good grabbing them out of the run the day before the show and expecting them to show themselves at their best.
  • A little bit of conditioning food will help – different people have their own ideas of what to use, fruit cake, grated cheese, fishy cat food etc.
  • If necessary, bath your birds several days before the show so that the feathers have time to web out properly, make sure the feet are really clean.
  • Most importantly the bird must be free of any fleas, mite, lice etc check a week before the show and make sure they are OK and then again the night before the show. Sometimes when a bird has been bathed there seems to be a fresh hatch of tiny lice which can be spotted on the shaft of the tail feathers they look gray on a dark bird and pinky red on a white bird.  

    There is no point in showing a bird with any sort of health problem as the judge will disqualify it straight away make sure none of your birds have scaly leg this can be well hidden on some of the feather legged breeds.
  • However good your bird is remember the judges judge the bird as they it on the day so if it has had its beard plucked, is moulting, has been knocked about in the breeding pen it will not do very well. Your show bird should be as clean and well prepared as you can possibly manage, pay particular attention to wing tips which often become soiled. Having paid your entry fee, used up your petrol & free time on getting to the show give your bird the best possible chance by showing it in really good condition.
  • Make sure you put your birds in the right pens! It's easy in the heat of the moment to put your 2008 breed pullet in the adults class and vice versa!

Hints about keeping poultry

The following tips are reproduced from an article by David Copas in the RDBS 60th anniversary book.

  • Always keep husbandry methods as simple and consistent as possible. This applies to breeding, preparing for show and even for doing the annual deep clean and selection of your stock.
  • Only keep as many birds as you can look after.
  • If you are going to change any aspect of your management for example feeding, do it slowly and test the new method beforehand.
  • Never stop listening and learning. If you become complacent your birds will suffer.
  • Quality is always better than quantity, and prevention better than cure.
  • You will never be able to purchase a fanciers best bird, so go for its brothers. sisters, or parents.
  • Inbreeding and line breeding are the proven methods of creating a stud of quality livestock.
  • Be determined to succeed, but be patient.
  • Be the severest critics of your own birds.