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Conditioning birds for show

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1 Conditioning birds for show on Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:27 pm

Hidden River

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My daughters have picked their breeds they want to focus on this year and have some January 1st chicks they would like to show at the Red Deer show in December.
What do they need to do to condition these birds for show?
My oldest is looking at a Partridge maybe Blue Silkie and my youngest her bantam wyandotte pullet.
They do handle them quite a bit already, but maybe not as much as they should? They are just running free with all the other Jan born chicks right now.
Do they need to pen them seperatly? Feed them differently? They are already vaccinated for Marek's and ILT. Anything else they should be doing?
I will try to get some pictures of them and see if the birds they picked would even be show worthy, just need to find some time.


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Raising Heritage Chickens, Guinea Fowl, Waterfowl, Katahdin Sheep, Angus and Jersey Cattle. Mother of 2 wonderful girls and wife to a very understanding Husband.
www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com
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2 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:23 pm

Hidden River

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Anyone have incite in to this? My daughter would like to condition some of her birds for Red Deer, "silkie challenge" to practice for the big shows. Any advise would be appreciated.


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Raising Heritage Chickens, Guinea Fowl, Waterfowl, Katahdin Sheep, Angus and Jersey Cattle. Mother of 2 wonderful girls and wife to a very understanding Husband.
www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com
http://www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com

3 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:41 pm

Toaster

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I guess the preparation can be as serious as you like..

Firstly read the standards to ensure that your birds are at least very close to the shape/colour/size/skin and leg colour required

About 8 weeks before the show go over the birds and look for bad feathers, on a Silkie they wont be as obvious as on the Wyandotte, look for broken feathers and badly marked feathers (if the dotte is a laced/barred/partridge one)grasp these at the base and quickly pull them out, only do this with the worst and smallest and never try to remove feathers from the wings!

Add a little cod liver oil (sold in the UK for horses not sure about Canada though) to the feed that will add some shine to the feathers, lots of greens (grass is obviously cheapest) will be hugely beneficial too

Keep the birds shaded, blues and buffs especially will fade in the sun

Whether you separate out the birds is up to you, they certainly stay neater if penned individually but I always think they must be pretty miserable alone so pen mine in twos and threes and never with a cockerel during show season (as they will wreck the female's feathers) Show cockerels really have to live alone unless they have been bought up together

If you let the birds continue to run with the rest thats no problem if you are showing for fun or at a low level

The Wyandotte needs to have yellow legs so if they arent a good yellow then some extra maize will help, this wont do the Silkie any harm as long as its not white! (too much maize can tint a white bird)

Embark on a weekly check for mites/lice and preventative treatment

in the weeks before the show get the birds used to being handled and spending some time in a show pen (improvise with a small dog crate or homemade wooden box with mesh front) feed it some treats while its in the cage, this training means that the show cage wont come as a surprise on the day (its obvious which birds are used to them and which arent) and also makes the bird very happy to see people, judges like it when the bird shows interest and alertness rather than stress or indifference

Also start to clean the legs of the birds every week or so, this helps with getting them used to being handled and also means that the legs arent really dirty when the time comes to bathe the bird nearer the show. a toothpick very gently run under the edge of the scales will dislodge any dirt build up, keep working on the legs and when bath day somes they will only need a clean up with an old toothbrush hopefully

Bathe the bird about a week before the show, clean the legs first in separate water then bathe the bird in warm chicken chest height water to which some shampoo has been added (horse shampoo is excellent, dog or baby shampoo are both ok too) dont apply the shampoo directly to the bird, gently work the warm water amongst the feathers, dont rub against the feathers though, run your hands under the wings and spread the wings out in the water to get them really wet

Rinse in another bowl of clean warm water, a final rinse in clean water to which a drop of vinegar has been added really makes the feathers shine

Dry the bird gently in a towel (you can use a little horse coat shine on the Wyandotte if you wish) let the Wyandotte dry naturally indoors in a box or in a warm garage/shed overnight, the Silkie will benefit from the use of a hairdryer to make it all puffy Laughing

Keep the birds clean till show day, this normally means they get penned on clean bedding in a small run

On show day check that the legs are clean and use a little baby oil on the legs and comb to make them shine (be careful not to get it on any feathers so the Silkie could be tricky!)

on arrival at the show find your pens and place the birds gently in them running your hands over them to take stray feathers then let them settle and go for a coffee!

You needent do all of these things, it really depends on what standard you are aiming for














4 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:02 pm

Hidden River

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Wow that was a great response, thank you.
The handling part is already taken care of, my daughters have their "favorites" and they are handled a lot. But they do need to get used to the pen idea, and keeping clean.
We knew a little of the info you wrote but a lot of new stuff is great to learn as well, Thank you again.


_________________
Raising Heritage Chickens, Guinea Fowl, Waterfowl, Katahdin Sheep, Angus and Jersey Cattle. Mother of 2 wonderful girls and wife to a very understanding Husband.
www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com
http://www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com

5 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:03 am

chickeesmom

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This is a great thread to read, now wondering if we should be feeding anything special in the months before the show?
Is there any other hints that you can share with beginners?

6 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:25 am

Hidden River

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With the December show fast approaching thought I would liven up this thread again.
Is there any feeds that are reccomended to improve the feather quality, weight gain, etc?


_________________
Raising Heritage Chickens, Guinea Fowl, Waterfowl, Katahdin Sheep, Angus and Jersey Cattle. Mother of 2 wonderful girls and wife to a very understanding Husband.
www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com
http://www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com

7 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:34 am

CynthiaM

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Oh, this post was began in April, didn't notice that until your last post, Hidden.

My birds are ready for the show, but I actually have done nothing really different to them. Never thought about that, well, except for the bathing yesterday.

I wonder if I should put a little shiney stuff on the combs and wattles, but then wonder, perhaps I won't bother. I think that I like my birds to be natural, without any added "pretty" things, like oil on the red parts, but then, who knows what today will bring. I think a little oil might make the red parts look a little nicer. Thinking about this thing hard. Have a wonderful day, CynthiaM.

8 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:47 am

HigginsRAT


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Last edited by HigginsRAT on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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9 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:45 pm

liz

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I have some birds that need to chub up. These birds are getting oatmeal,canned corn and buttermilk mixed together.I have some boys that aren't keen on my cooking so they are getting supplemented cottage cheese.It is a bit of extra work but the results are quick.

10 Re: Conditioning birds for show on Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:56 pm

Hidden River

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Thanks Liz that was exactly what I was looking for.


_________________
Raising Heritage Chickens, Guinea Fowl, Waterfowl, Katahdin Sheep, Angus and Jersey Cattle. Mother of 2 wonderful girls and wife to a very understanding Husband.
www.hiddenriverranch.weebly.com
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