This article is a reminder to pay attention to the details, and is being republished from Acorn Hollow Bantams website with permission from Lou Horton.
This item has more to do with the showing aspect of the hobby which is, after all, why many of us are in the hobby. Whether you realize it or not, most judges get excited when they run across an exceptional bird while judging a class. That excitement sometimes turns to disappointment, however, when the bird is examined and a hidden major defect is found. The disappointment is especially acute when the defect is one that the exhibitor should have noticed. Case in point: a hidden white feather on a Cayuga or East Indie. Another example: a tiny stub (piece of fluff feather) on the leg or between the toes of a clean legged breed of chicken. In both cases, the judge is obligated to penalize an otherwise outstanding bird because the exhibitor did not do their “homework” prior to the show.
In other cases, an exhibitor who takes the extra time to fit a bird exceptionally well may make the difference between a second place bird and a champion. Some years ago, Bruce Sherman of CA was dominating the White Rock bantam classes. I recall speaking with Bruce about his fitting process which included using a toothpick to clean under the leg scales of his best showbirds. That is the kind of thing that can make that little bit of critical difference when a judge selects the birds to send to champion row. The judge may not even realize why that bird stands out a little bit. Please understand that fitting a bird involves many things from the growing process all the way to washing, etc. My point is that such little extras (as long as they are considered legal) complement the natural qualities of the bird and enhance the bird’s appearance.
When Kim Theodore of IL. was showing feather footed bantams, she took the extra time to design her pens and even her carrying coops to be smooth sided so she could keep most of her showbird’s foot feathering intact and unbroken. You better believe that was noticed and taken into consideration by the judges who handled her birds. Just some food for thought and a reminder to pay attention to the details!
By Lou Horton