How to Show Chickens

Showing chickens at community fairs is great fun and a good introduction into caring for animals. You have to begin at the beginning. This article is about preparing your chicken to show, not the basics on raising your chicken. These steps should begin months before the chicken is shown.


  1. Image titled Show Chickens Step 1
    Once you have your chicken/chick, treat your chick like a pet. The purpose of this is to train your chick to be friendly towards people. Doing so will immediately make your bird stand out when the judges are handling the birds.
  2. Image titled Show Chickens Step 2
    Handle your bird daily. Examine it in the way it will be checked over at a show. Do all this very gently:
    • unfold the wings,
    • look at and touch the feet and beak,
    • look at the eyes to make sure they are nice and clear,
    • stand it up on a table for a second or two, kind of like you are showing it off. This type of training ensures your bird will be patient and expect that it will be handled and it won't be timid. This will also help you to learn what is normal for your bird so that if something is wrong, you catch it and treat it right away.
  3. Image titled Show Chickens Step 3
    Keep the bird sheltered. The whole time your bird is growing and you are preparing to show your bird, make sure it is in a covered area. This will keep your chicken's feathers color beautiful and bright.
  4. Image titled Show Chickens Step 4
    Wash the chicken. When the weather is very warm and there is no breeze, you can give your chicken a dip. Do this once about two weeks before show, then the day or so before you take your bird to show:
    • Fill a tub with water. Use a metal washtub outside and let it set out to be warmed by the sun. Use one that only holds about 4 gallons (15.1 L) of water. Do not add any soaps or chemicals to the water. The chicken will do all the work.
    • Hold your chicken's head very gently so it can't throw its head into the water, hold the body from underneath. If you have a large or heavy bird, you may need help with this part. One person holding the bird body, below and above, and one person protecting the bird's head so it doesn't try to drown itself.
    • Very quickly, dip the bird in the water with a quick up and down swish, no more than two swishes. Pick the bird up out of the water. Very important - Only wet the chicken up to the neck. If the chicken gets water into its respiratory areas, you could very easily end up with a sick or dead chicken.
    • If the bird seems well saturated, you are done with this part. If the bird kept the wings and feathers very close to its body and only the outer layer is wet, repeat the dip as instructed above.
    • Do not dip your bird more than two times.
    • If your chicken is dirty on the head area, you can get a wet rag and gently wipe its head. When the chicken feels that the head has gotten moist, she will also groom her head.
  5. Image titled Show Chickens Step 5
    Don't forget those beautiful birdie feet! Spray your bird's feet with a mixture of 3 parts water, 1 part "campho phenique." It's not known why this helps their legs to look and feel good,[citation needed] but it does. Consider mixing it in a very small travel bottle with a "fine" mist sprayer.
  6. Image titled Show Chickens Step 6
    Put your bird in a wire cage with straw bedding. The chicken's natural instinct is to groom itself, so she will go right to work. A chicken is the best groomer of their own feathers.
    • Make sure you leave your chicken in the cage alone until they are completely dry, but be sure to give access to food and water. Grooming is a tough job.
  7. Image titled Show Chickens Step 7
    When you take your chicken to the show, the following things will make your chicken stand out regardless of the breed of chicken or the chickens' breeding:
    • Your chicken is friendly-it may even hop right into the judge's hands. A friendly chicken shows the judge that the chicken's owner has spent an awful lot of time preparing the bird, not just ignoring it and bringing it to a show on show day. The initial author's son's favorite hen won Grand Champion from the Village fair all the way through to the State fair. Each judge noted that they were impressed with the friendliness of the hen. She just jumped right into their hands.
    • Your bird is used to being handled - this is impressive, it shows the owner's dedication.
    • The bird is healthy, had you been handling your chicken every day you would have noticed anything unusual and it would have been cared for immediately.
    • Your bird's feathers are beautifully clean and colorful.

Article Info

Categories: Chickens | Articles in Need of Sources