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Preparing Your Chicken For A Show

Preparation for a chicken show starts months in advance. Your show chickens will need to be in top condition by the time is comes to showing. They will need to be a healthy weight, have healthy feathers, and be free of any infections or parasites. To ensure all of this you need to ensure your show birds have the right diet and living conditions to minimise infections and maximise and boost their health.

Two fantastic looking purebred chickens for showing
Two fantastic looking purebred chickens for showing

Not only do your chickens need to be physically healthy but they need to be trained for showing. Showing can be stressful for a bird that isn’t used to the process. Read on to find out more about how to train a chicken for showing.


Chicken shows can be very stressful for a chicken that isn’t used to them. At a show they will be in a small cage with lots of people walking by looking at them. When being judged they will be taken out of their cage and handled. You must get your chicken used to this process before you show them so they are calm and relaxed when you do. A judge will not look kindly on a nervous or flighty bird and they may even disqualify them if a chicken is being particularly disruptive.

To train your chickens for showing you will need to handle them everyday in order to get them used to being touched and handled. You should get them used to having their wings extended and being held with one hand under them. A week before the show you should keep your chicken in a small pen or rabbit hutch to get them used to an enclosed space. Ideally you will place them in an area where you and your family and pets will be walking past quite regularly. This will get them used to the hustle and bustle of a chicken show.


Your chicken will need a pampering session before it can be shown. Washing your chicken should be done 3-4 days before a show to make sure all the natural oils have a chance to return to the feathers to give your bird a natural shine. To learn how to wash your chicken read our section on how to wash a chicken. However, bare in mind that certain breeds may need to be washed slightly differently so researching your breed and how to wash them is advised.

A close up of a well washed and trained purebred chicken
A close up of a well washed and trained purebred chicken

Nails and Beak

You will need to regularly clip your chicken's claws and beak before showing.

Customer Images

Rusty having a bath.
I need to look clean
Show time
I would have preferred an all pink towel but i suppose this is ok
I do not  like the hairdryer being turned off
I like bathtime


Eleif, 22 August 2021

I have a Sapphire Gem hen that is the perfect hen body shape and has very nice, clean, untattered plummage. I've been thinking about getting into 4-H with her as a show chicken. Would a Sapphire Gem have a chance in competition? What steps should I take to make her feathers shine well? She has a pretty comb that folds over and looks like a beret, which people always adore.