SHOWING YOUR BIRDS
KRISTEN REEVES, MEADOWLARK FARMS AVIAN SUPPLY, INC.
Read more about what to look for in a show bird and how to show your birds at these links - beware that there will be a bit of overlap in these pages.
A Bird Show??? Yes, there really IS such a thing...
Just like a cat or dog show - and it is a wonderful way to see just how good a job you've done breeding and maintaining your birds, and what the trained professionals think of them! Not to mention, it is a great place to meet other serious breeders and compare notes!
First, you need to know the "standard" for your particular species. For finches and softbills, standards are published in the NFSS Judges Handbook.
Next, you should choose the birds you wish to show based on which birds most closely match the "standard" for the species. When choosing birds to show, look for overall condition - smooth feathers, clean legs & beak, overall shape (no "flat" heads or narrow chests, no "carrots with legs" shapes unless that is what the species should look like), overall size, crossing or dropping of wings, attitude of tail, and how the bird sits on the perch. Missing toes, missing feathers, a molting bird, or one who is obviously overweight or ill, will be marked down. These issues are all considered faults.
Once the birds have been selected, it is wise to get them into individual show cages to become accustomed to being in such a small cage. Birds should be trained to hold still long enough that the judge can get a good long look, yet not be so sedate that they never move. Judges are aware of the personalities for each species, and know that some just don't sit still! Gouldians, however, should sit nicely still with only a little bit of movement while being inspected. A well-trained bird will be active, yet not flopping all over the show cage.