At lot of what you have to do before a show is prep work, and it has to start long before
the show itself. See this article for more info on conditioning and prepping for a show.
About a week before the show, you'll want to wash your chickens.
What you'll need:
Three pails or large buckets
One large towel per bird
Dog nail clippers
Dog nail file
An old toothbrush
An old washcloth or other rag
Blood stop powder, or cayenne powder (in case you nick a quick)
Carriers deeply bedded with clean shavings
Hair dryer (if it's cool outside)
Dish soap or some sort of show shampoo (better to use something like Ivory than Dawn,
which strips too much oil from the feathers)
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Bluing (only use if you have white birds, and not too much!)
Crates deeply bedded with shavings to put the birds into for the final drying time.
Fill the buckets with warm but not too hot water. Put some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
into the second bucket (not too much, just enough to cut the soap) and if you are
washing white birds, several drops of bluing into the third.
Gently lower the bird into the first bucket (but do not cover the head), swishing it up and
down to get the feathers wet. Put some soap into your hand and gently brush it onto the
bird, stroking in the direction of the feathers, not against the grain.
Work the soap in, paying attention to the vent area and the toes. Be careful with soap
around the eyes, best to just use a washcloth to wipe the head area. Use the toothbrush to
scrub the toes and legs, get all the crud off of them.
Transfer the bird to the second bucket, swishing up and down to get the soap off. Then put
into the third bucket for a final rinse. Wrap the bird in a towel, leaving the head and feet
sticking out. Sit with it on your lap (you will get wet) and gently trim toes and beak (no
judge likes to be scratched.) Use the file on the beak to remove sharp edges and refine the
look. Wipe around eyes again with the towel.
Use the blow dryer with caution, not too hot! Using the warm (not hot) setting on the blow
dryer, dry the chicken so that it is almost dry (you won't get it all the way dry.) Place it into
the crate with shavings in a warm, non-drafty place to finish drying (this may take several
hours.) We find we can do between six to eight birds per day effectively. Once the bird is
completely dry, return it either to the cage or its clean pen.)
Before you wash your birds, you should always check them for mites or lice, and treat
appropriately. It's no fun trying to wash a bird with mites crawling all over your arms
How to Wash a Chicken For a Show
The American Buckeye Poultry Club
|All material copyright 2001 to present by Laura Haggarty.
All rights reserved. No material to be reproduced in any form without prior written permission