First impressions are critical in poultry showmanship, and the way you are dressed or the way your bird is prepared can determine exactly where you place in the class. That is why dressing for success, yourself and your bird, is essential!
Both you and your bird should be neat. While the specific clothes you should wear may vary based on your region, state, or the type of show you are attending (fairs vs sanctioned shows), you should always be dressed neatly (no shorts, no crop tops, no tank tops, no sweatpants, no excessive makeup, brush and style your hair so it isn’t in your face, no dangly jewelry, etc.). Your shirt should be tucked and buttoned, and your collar should be neat (ironing your shirt before the show is a great way to look well-presented). Make sure to wear a belt that matches your shoes (no neon or excessively decorated belts or boots). Some areas require lab coats for showmanship, so you may want to contact your leader or mentor beforehand if it is your first time competing in showmanship at a sanctioned show. No matter the state or show, you should always wear a winning smile to show you are confident and having a good time!
Your bird should be washed several days to a week before the show (a wet chicken is unacceptable for showmanship) and the bird should be in good flesh and feather condition. Make sure to trim the beak, toenails, and spurs (if present) before the competition and to avoid applying excessive sheen spray (if you use it at all). Wipe down the feet and legs with a diaper wipe when it is removed from the transport cage to clean off any mess the bird may have made, and spot-check the feathers. You may choose to take a very light amount of VetRX or other poultry-safe oil (like mineral or baby oil) to gently massage into the face, comb, wattles, and feet to bring out the color and make the bird absolutely dazzling.
If you and your bird are tidy, well-prepared and dressing for success, you will feel like champions and your placings will reflect your hard work into getting ready for the show!
Written by Elizabeth Wilson