When most aviculturists hear the words “bird show,” they think of bird expos or marts where birds and associated things are sold. However, in the field of aviculture, they are relatively new advances. Birds have been shown for many years, even decades in certain instances, with the goal of improving birds via selective breeding. While most breeders are content to create healthy offspring, those who display their birds strive to produce the greatest bird of that species possible.
Showing parrotlets also offers additional benefits, such as exposing people to new species and color variations of birds. Showing may also impact the sort of birds a breeder owns, and the most successful exhibitors concentrate in a certain species or genus of birds in order to have complete control over their breeding operation program.
Below are some of my tips if you are thinking of bringing your parrotlets for the coming exhibition:
There is no necessity for a parrotlet to wear a leg band in order to be shown. If a parrotlet is earning points toward champion or grand champion rank, it should have a band, however it may be an open band. Champion and grand champion parrots must be banded, according to the Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors. They must also wear an SPBE-issued leg band or have the band registered with the Society. However, any bird may participate and win without wearing a leg band.
Spray your parrotlet multiple times a day with clean, clear fresh water in the weeks leading up to the event. Some individuals put all kinds of substances in their water, some of which are potentially hazardous. On your parrotlet, always use fresh, clean water with no additives. Grooming should not be left till the last minute. If you want to trim your nails or beak, do it at least two weeks before the event. To eliminate pin feathers, brush the head and neck with a toothbrush or VelcroTM every few days. Ruffled feathers should not be trimmed or pulled. A ruffled feather is preferable than a missing one. Use no oil or other substance to improve the beak or feet. When oil is rubbed on a parrotlet’s feathers, it might cause it to lose heat. It also seems unnatural, which the court will detect and criticize.
There are no cage requirements for parrotlets, as previously stated. There are, however, cages designed expressly for exhibiting. If you want to exhibit often, a high-quality display cage is definitely worth the expense. On all sides save the front, the cages are coated with wood or plastic. For parrotlets, love bird size boxes are advised. Replacement perches should be 1/2″ dowels. A cage with two perches works best for parrotlets. Toys are not permitted, and the cage should not have any marks that may be used to identify the owner. Water and food containers should be provided in each cage (although food is usually used as a bottom covering).
Show Cage Training
It is critical that your parrotlet act properly in the display box. A judge may have to ignore a physically superior bird because it refused to remain on a perch or budge from the cage bars. If you plan ahead of time, your parrotlet’s experience will be much more favorable.
Leave your parrotlet alone in the exhibition cage for an hour or two, with food and drink. Repeat for many days, or until the parrotlet feels at ease and sits on the perches. Next, take a dowel and carefully move the parrotlet from perch to perch. If the parrotlet falls to the floor, remove the dowel and let the bird return to the perch. Thank you. Continue to work slowly and softly until the parrotlet can readily hop back and forth without collapsing.
Once the parrotlet has acquired this ability, it is critical that they get used to varied environments and distractions. Move the cage from one room to another, don various hats or sunglasses, and invite your friends over to have a peek. Try to introduce the parrotlet to as many various people and environments as possible so that it can sit like a rock on the display bench.
Before the Show
Once you’ve decided on a show to attend, get the specific venue, start time, and deadline for registering birds. Get a map and start planning your itinerary as soon as feasible. Make hotel accommodations if required. Most clubs establish agreements with nearby hotels to provide exhibitor discounts. Pack a spray bottle, a tiny stapler, pens, a toothbrush, VelcroTM, a plastic sandwich bag, additional food and drink containers, a favorite toy, food, millet spray, and bottled water in a show bag. Pack a towel large enough to cover the cage as well. Because many programs keep the lights on at night, a towel will guarantee a restful night’s sleep. Make a note of your parrotlet’s band number and keep it in your show bag.
Why go to Bird Shows?
Attending bird exhibitions has taught me more about parrots in general, as well as what makes a perfect specimen. I went to my first show mostly to have fun with my friends and to acquire a “appraisal” on the quality of my breeding stock. Since then, I’ve had quite the education. One that is always evolving and being enhanced. When I’m looking for breeding stock, I look for outstanding bone structure first, tight feathers second, and strong, brilliant color with a calm personality. This way, I have both beautiful exhibition birds and lovely companions. It combines the finest of both worlds.
Exhibiting birds is not just for breeders, but it can also be a lot of pleasure for pet owners. Nothing gets a first-time beginner more thrilled than gnawing their nails out while tiny Kiwi is being graded. It’s similar to seeing your child’s piano recital or school play when they perform well on the show bench. The greatest birds like it as well, and will strut and spin to show off their best qualities.
Which Bird Show to Attend?
There are several bird shows around the country that are sponsored by local bird groups. In addition, there are two national/international exhibits in the United States. The Great American Cage Bird Show, or GABS, is a show that was created largely to display hook bills. The National Cage Bird Show, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Chicago in November 1998, is the granddaddy of all bird exhibits. These displays take place in various sites around the nation and are sponsored by a local bird club.
How Will Your Bird Be Judged at a Bird Show?
Joining the Society of Parrot Breeders and Exhibitors is the greatest method to learn about bird shows and how to display birds. SPBE has worked long and hard to set hook bill judging guidelines. Lovebirds, English budgies, and cockatiels are typically assessed under the criteria of their respective Societies, but may also be presented under the SPBE’s. Conformation, condition, deportment, color, and presentation are all rated on a point system.
Because the main goal of showing is to create the best breeders possible, conformation is the most significant criteria, accounting for 40% of the entire point total. The length, weight, size, and proportion of the bird determine its conformation. The second most significant criteria is condition, which accounts for 30% of total points. In contrast to conformation, the exhibitor has some influence on the bird’s condition. It must be fed regularly and housed in a clean, adequately sized cage. All feathers must be intact and well-groomed, with no pin feathers, and kept tightly against the body. Deportment accounts for 15% of the overall points and pertains to the bird’s conduct in the exhibition cage. A bird with good manners perches tall on the perch and displays itself. It should not be huddled on the floor or scrambling up the bars, but should stand straight and safe. Color is worth 10% of the overall points and relates to the depth, homogeneity, and clarity of the color rather than its rarity. Many people are startled to see a typical green Pacific ranked better than a rare yet attractive mutant. If that mutation does not have a better conformation or condition, it should not be considered superior than the green bird just because it is unusual. If such were the case, only the most wealthy collectors would be able to exhibit birds. Finally, presentation is just 5% of the equation but should not be disregarded.
Although SPBE does not have cage regulations, anybody who intends to display birds should invest in high-quality show cages. Parrotlets do well in lovebird cages with smaller perches. Keep them and their perches clean and clear of clutter. After each performance, the seed should be replaced, and the bird should always have fresh, clean water.
As you go through the show circuit, you will establish additional connections and learn even more from old timers eager to share their wisdom. When you begin to place on the top bench, you will begin to be recognized by individuals you have never met who want to buy your birds. People want to purchase the greatest birds they can afford, and if you’re winning on the show bench, you’ve shown you have fantastic birds. You could also discover markets you never imagined existed. For example, now that color mutation Pacific parrotlets are available, I am seeing an increase in business from cockatiel, budgie, and lovebird breeders who like working with color. And these folks have taught me much more about genetics than I ever imagined.
Make it a point to visit a bird show in your neighborhood the next time you hear about one. Go with the purpose of learning something new and having fun. It’s a fantastic experience, and once you’re addicted, watch out!
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