I entered my first poultry show! Now what?!

Congratulations on signing up for your first show!

​Basics of getting ready for your first show: Google and YouTube are your friends. There are many ways to get your birds ready and many exhibitors that have shared their methods online but here’s a basic list of what you should do.

  • Read the show rules.
    • This will tell you when birds can be cooped in and out.
  • Wash your birds.
    • The three bucket method is a popular way to wash birds. Fill a bucket with warm water and whatever soap you decide to use. Fill another up with plain warm water. Fill the last up with a bit of vinegar and warm water. The final bucket helps to remove an soap that’s left after dipping them in the first 2 buckets.
    • Original blue Dawn or puppy shampoo are what many use.
    • A toothbrush works great for scrubbing feet, combs, heads or stubborn stains.
    • Be sure to not get water in your birds’ ears.
    • Cotton swabs work well for sensitive facial areas.
    • It is recommended that you wash no later than 3 days before a show so that feathers can replenish their natural oils.
    • Separating them from your other birds and clean, deep bedding will help with stay clean until the show.
  • Trim your birds nails, beaks and spurs as needed.
      • You can use a pair of nail clippers or a dremel with a sanding tip works great, too.

What should you bring with you to the show?

  • VetRx or other similar product
    • Use sparingly to help bring out color in your birds’ combs, wattles and legs.
  • Cotton swabs for touch ups
  • Baby wipes or towel to clean up poop on feet, etc.
  • Cash for auction, prize drawing or buying exhibitors birds.

What happens during the show?

Friday – Set-up starts and volunteers are GREATLY appreciated. With a one day show (the show next weekend is a 1 day show), Friday is a day for set up and checking in. This day gives people traveling in from out of town a place to keep their birds overnight. It also makes it convenient for exhibitors that can’t coop their birds in before judging the next morning.

Saturday – If you did not check your birds in on Friday, they must be checked in no later than a half hour before judging starts on Saturday. During judging, there isn’t much going on. You are welcome to leave and come back or you can take this time to socialize with other breeders, view the birds (aisles currently being judged will be closed off), check out the prizes that have been donated and look at the birds in the auction. If there is a breed that you are interested in, find a club member and they will be happy to direct you to the breeder. Breeders sometimes sell birds they have in the show, make their show birds available in the auction or have birds at home that they are willing to sell. Most members are happy to discuss what to look for in their breed to help you with your own breeding program. If you have children that would like to participate in junior showmanship, that begins at 10 am. You are welcome to come and go as you please. The excitement gets started at 1:00 pm with the auction of show quality birds, followed by the prize drawing, and awards presentation. Coop out takes place promptly at 5:00 pm. Tear down and clean up starts at 5:00 pm and volunteers are greatly appreciated.

​Other Questions

  • Is there a dress code for youth showmanship?
    • No, the UFPA does not have a dress code but this changes from club to club so be sure to check each show you are attending.
  • Is there a minimum age for junior showmanship?
    • Unlike 4H, we do not have a minimum junior age.
  • Will I look like a crazy person if I show up with backyard hatchery chickens?
    • No! Everyone has to start somewhere. We have a class for backyard/hatchery quality birds and non-standard breeds specifically for this. This class is judged by members who have been in the fancy for a long time and members are happy to give you feedback if you ask.
  • I think that bird looks nicer than the one that won. How are the birds judged?
    • Birds are judged against the APA and ABA Standard of Perfection. This book outlines every aspect of the bird from body structure to colors and patterns. It also lists features that make for an automatic DQ (disqualification) and other features that are just faults where points will be deducted. No bird is absolutely perfect but the one that the judge selects as Best of Breed is the closest to that particular judge’s interpretation of the SOP. Judges may have different interpretations of the SOP which is why different judge’s at the same show may choose different birds as their winners.
  • Is there a limit on how many open and junior birds you can enter?
    • No, there is not a limit per person. Entries will close on the date posted date or when all of our cages are full – which ever comes first.
  • If we are not members of the club are we still eligible for all the awards?
    • Everyone is eligible for the awards given out by the Utah Fancy Poultry Association. You do not have to be a member of the UFPA but it is appreciated since membership dues help pay for awards and keep the club running. If there are special breed meets associated with the show, most breed clubs require that you are a member to receive one of their awards. Breed clubs usually mail out awards a couple times a year.