Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How are chickens judged at poultry shows?

Crested duck, 2014 Walworth Co. Fair, Elkhorn, WI
The Rock County 4-H Fair holds its poultry judging on Thursday. Exhibitors will showcase their chickens, turkeys and waterfowl in front of a professional judge.

When the average person is at a poultry show and looks at the birds they think, "That's a chicken, a duck or a goose." There's much more to it than that.

Birds are shown as class, breed and variety. A chicken example is American class, Wyandotte breed and Silver Laced variety.

With ducks and geese it's a little different. The classes are Heavy, Medium and Light. Ducks also have a bantam class. A goose example is Heavy class, Toulouse breed and Gray variety. A duck example is Medium class, Crested breed and White variety. (Pictured)

There are hundreds of breeds and varieties of poultry, and so a judge uses a book published by the American Poultry Association called The American Standard of Perfection to determine how the birds measure up. The Standard describes each class, breed and variety. It includes pictures to show how they should look. Each bird is judged based on how close they are to perfect as described by that book. There is also a Bantam Standard of Perfection for bantam, or smaller, birds. 

Basically, it's a beauty pageant for poultry.

Another great resource to learn more about poultry breeds: Oklahoma State University's Animal Science Department.

As always, post further questions in the comment section.

--Dale, aka Turkeyman