How To Enter Your Bird In Exotic Bird Shows

If you are the proud owner of a really good-looking exotic pet bird, maybe you should consider entering your bird in exotic bird shows. Let’s look at what exactly is involved here.

Details of exotic bird shows can be found in the bird-keeping magazines and club newsletters.

Lees Exotic Birds is a great go-to site on these matters too. These exotic bird shows vary from small-scale local events to regional and national shows. Some cater to one particular type of bird, such as budgerigars and some have classes for a variety of species.

Even if you are not exhibiting it is definitely worth visiting an exotic bird show as it will give you an insight into what is required to exhibit birds successfully, as well as enabling you to meet fellow fanatics and learn.

exotic bird showsJudging standards in these bird shows differ according to the type of bird, and as a general rule, the condition of the bird is very important.

Birds that are molting will not do well at a show, so it is a waste showing them.

Those species that have been selectively bred and have a number of color varieties like the zebra finch or budgie have a good chance of winning a prize if they are in good condition.

Birds in a class are not being judged against each other but against the ideal established for the variety concerned. Because the condition is the prime concern, missing nails for example will mean losing points.

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Entering An Exotic Bird Show

If you are considering entering exotic bird shows you will need to get stock from a reputable breeder as you are very unlikely to find suitable birds in your local pet shop. It is always better to buy two pairs of good quality birds than ten birds of mediocre quality. The cost of acquiring exhibition stock depends on not only the type of bird but also on the breeder’s reputation. Those who are doing well on the show bench are likely to charge a lot more for their birds.

Budgies and certain canary varieties are among the most expensive, whereas top-quality examples of finches, such as Bengalese are relatively inexpensive by way of comparison.

Join the relevant society through the organization that you will be able to enter your birds in the widest possible range of classes at a show. You will also receive a variety of publications giving details of the major show events in your area.

Show cages are another essential purchase, especially for those varieties that are judged to the specific standards.

The idea is that the cages should all be the same so that judges are not distracted by the housing of the exhibit. It is vital to have the right type of show cage for the breed concerned. Budgerigars are mostly exhibited in cages with white interiors and black exteriors. When several birds are exhibited together inter-teams, the basic design is scaled up from that used for a single bird. Find out what is the norm before purchasing the wrong cage.

Budgerigars and canaries are usually exhibited individually, whereas pairs of finches are more commonly shown. A good pair will always win over a single bird, simply because it is harder to stage a pair that is in top condition.

No decor is allowed in the cage, with the notable exception of the softbill classes. The aim, in this case, is to devise a natural backdrop that complements the appearance of the bird or birds.

Small softbills may be shown in pairs. A variety of materials such as moss, bark, and even exotic flowers, may be incorporated and, and although a good backdrop display will not win the class, it can make the difference when two entries are otherwise inseparable.

Preparing Your Birds For An Exotic Bird Show

Getting birds ready for a show is an art in itself because they need to be in peak condition for the event. Should they start to molt or even damage a feather, this will effectively ruin their chances. Regular spraying can help with the conditioning process. Special conditioners like this one may be added to the spray to help develop a healthy gloss on the plumage.

There are no shortcuts to obtaining show success. If a bird is not in top condition, then it will not win, simple as that. This is often the reason why a winner at one show may not be placed at another.

When entering a bird show, make sure you enter your birds in the correct class or they could be disqualified on the day and you will lose your entry fee.

A week prior to the show, check and clean the show cages. They should be in good condition because any damage may spoil your bird’s chances of winning.

Look at the condition of your birds. Some budgerigars may need their mask trimmed and you should do this a few days beforehand taking great care not to damage the plumage when holding the bird.

On the morning of the show, allow yourself plenty of time to reach the venue, particularly if you do not know the area, and allow for extra time to find parking.

Arriving early means that the birds will have time to settle down on the show bench before judging takes place, which is likely to improve their chances. Agitated birds rarely look their best.

In most cases, judging is carried out without an audience, so if you want to see what is involved, volunteer yourself to be a show steward.

Those birds that are tame and used to human contact will often show to the best effect simply because they will not retreat to the floor of the cage out of fear when they are inspected by the judge at close quarters.

One of the more unusual aspects of showing birds is that a winning bird at one event may not even be placed at its next show This is usually due to the bird’s condition, so although purchasing other people’s winning birds (usually at highly inflated prices) may seem like a good way to instant show success, in fact, consistent winners are those who pay attention to detail, constantly seeking to improve the type of their birds by careful pairings.

Whether or not your birds win, try not to lose sight of the fact that exhibiting is meant to be enjoyable, irrespective of the outcome. there is always the next event to look forward to and there is every chance that your birds could win a class there.

The judging of birds can be difficult and so much depends on the cooperation of the birds themselves. If they skulk on the floor or retreat to the back of the cage it will be impossible to assess its potential and it will not score highly.

They need to be as proud as a peacock to be on display.

exotic bird shows

The best exhibitors are those who train their birds properly from an early age, so that the birds are used to being accommodated in show cages, with humans looking at them closely.

In the case of young budgerigars, this process may begin when the chicks are still in the nest. Handling at this stage means that the birds will be finger-tame by the time they emerge from the nest.

Deciding which of the birds in your collection will be good enough to win at shows in the future can be very difficult. This is very true of chicks as their full potential may not be apparent until they are older.

As a result, many exhibition breeders retain the majority of their young stock until they have molted out, housing them in spacious flights where they can continue their development once weened.

Regular training sessions at this stage will allow the birds to become used to their show cages as well.

Shows often hold classes for young birds and these will allow you to test the show potential of your chicks under the neutral eye of a judge. Even so, do not necessarily part with birds that fail to be placed at a handful of shows, as it is important to bear in mind their pedigree.

Quality has a way of coming to the fore eventually and if for example, you have a hen bred from the best birds in your stud who is not herself a top-ranked show bird, she could still make a contribution to the development of your stud.

Champion exhibitors often breed their best birds not necessarily from their best show birds, but from closely related individuals. Also, it can be difficult to acquire good quality hens compared with cocks and you should always think carefully before giving up a hen bird.

Once you have a bird that is doing well on the show bench and is winning regularly, do not be tempted to enter it in as many events as possible. Birds need to rest after a show and over-showing may adversely affect their breeding performance as well as their results in the long run.

It is a good idea to plan out which shows you want to attend and even which birds you want to enter in each event. Bear in mind that the birds you select at this stage may not be in top condition by the time of the show however and that adjustments in your plans prior to some shows will be inevitable.

For more on entering bird shows, click here.

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