With the past year came a lot of change to the poultry world. Here in Pennsylvania we didn’t get to show poultry in 2015 due to the outbreak of Avian Influenza. So, of course, when we found out we were getting to show in 2016 everyone was very excited! Then we found out the new rules for showing poultry. Man, was that ever a change. What we normally did was take only the birds we were showing to our local fair to get tested. This year, the poultry testers had to come to our house and test ALL the chickens, up to 30 at least. I myself have over 30 birds on the property. Drawling blood from 30 birds was no easy task. Below are some simple tips to make bird testing easier for you, no matter where you are from.
The people testing your birds are not going to want to have to chase a dozen or more birds around your property. Even if you don’t have the birds all free range, it’s helpful to have someone holding the next bird or two which are going to need tested.
Have The Show Birds Picked Out
Don’t wait until the last minute to be picking out what birds you are going to want to take to the show with you. With the time restraint you won’t be picking your nicest birds. If you are a beginner this is extra important to remember. Someone with experience might be able to quickly pick the best bird out of 5 or so decently quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to. Even after all my years in poultry, dozens of judging clinics and judging competitions, I still find it extremely stressful to pick out my best broiler birds, even if it is days in advance!
Have all the birds that you want tested in a confined area
This probably goes without saying, but make sure every bird (up to 30) is in an easily accessible area. It will take so much time out of the process of testing birds!
Make sure your chicken area looks extra nice
You probably put a lot of time into building your coops and taking care of your chickens. Always make sure everything looks extra nice when your poultry testers come around! This may be their first impression of your chicken business so make sure it’s a good one!
I really hope these tips help you out when you are testing your flock this year for show season! 4-H kids, remember to be working on those books and your chickens (and other animals you might have)
Good luck this Fair Season and let me know if these tips helped you out!