Continuing our theme of showing birds this month we talk about what the judge actually does at the show.
Obviously they are there to judge the birds, but this is not the only role they have on the day.
You will see the judge go to each cage and normally take the bird out for close inspection after looking at it in the pen.
If a judge doesn't take your bird out of the pen it is because it has been classed incorrectly or it looks sick or has lice.
You can approach the judge after judging to find out the reason.
You should never talk to a judge while they are working as it is disturbing.
There is plenty of time after judging to talk about your birds.
When the judge takes the bird out you will see them closely inspect the head, feet and feathers.
Often it comes down to minor differences but the judge will always refer to the Australian Standard when judging and the points allocated for each characteristic.
This is where you come in and should present the bird in its best light.
Clean head, feet and a wash before the show will go a long way in giving birds the best chance of winning.
I have written before about preparing birds so go into the archives for this.
Judges spend about a minute or so on each bird but may exceed this in difficult, large classes.
They may also go back and look at birds twice.
When the judge has finished a class they will usually write on the penning slip in pencil the position of the bird in that class.
It may be one to three but one to five in large classes and specialist shows isn't uncommon.
They will move to other classes in that breed and then come back for Champions of breed or colour which will also be written on the penning card.
You will get stewards placing proper prize cards on pens after the stewards sheets are returned to the office.
Don't be surprised if these are faced inwards for the champions so the judges don't know the owner for the bigger prizes.
A final word. Be pleasant and polite to the judges as it is a tough job and there is no show without them. Ask what they thought of your bird and if you disagree there is another show next week.
If you win be gracious and accept the plaudits because next week that same bird may not win.
- Bruce Pattinson is a past president of the NSW Exhibition Poultry Association. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to: Chook Feed, PO Box 25, Kogarah, 2217, with your name and daytime contact number.