And the best in show is—these are the last word the judge says before announcing the top bird over all others in the show. Judging categories are Best in Class, Best in Section, and Best in Show.

If you have never been to a bird show, add it to your bucket list; you won’t be disappointed. Before the show begins, you can purchase toys, cages, food, and other bird accessories from vendors. There are baby birds and adult birds of all kinds available for purchase. It is a great way to introduce yourself to various birds and learn from the vendors about their likes and dislikes. The majority of the baby birds have been handfed so they are not skittish of humans. Most vendors will let you pick them up and hold them. If you are thinking of adding a bird to your family, be sure to ask the vendor to let you handle it. You need to spend time with the exact bird you are thinking of purchasing; birds of the same breed, just like other animals, have their own personality. You want to match the personality of the bird to your personality. Some birds are very active and noisy while others are quiet and subdued.  Birds for sale range from the finch family to the big parrots. If you want to try your hand at breeding, many vendors have breeding pairs for sale. Be careful though when buying adult birds for breeding. Find out the age of the bird as it might be past breeding age. Some times a vendor will sex birds. Again, depending on the method they use, it might not be 100 percent accurate.

Every bird in a show, is judged while perching in a special cage approved for shows. These cages are required. The back, sides and bottom of the cages are solid and usually made of wood. The front of the cage is wire. There is one perch in the cage. The floor of the cage has to be covered with noncolored seed and one water tube is required per cage. The size and type of bird determines the size of the show cage. The bird needs to be able to perch comfortably, but not able to fly around in the cage.

Show preparation begins three months before the show date. The birds spend several hours each day in their show cage to get acclimated to it. They are fed a high protein diet and sprayed with cool water every day which gives them healthy feathers. The feet are cleaned with mineral oil to keep them from getting cracked or dry. Care must be taken when applying the mineral oil to prevent any from getting on the bird’s feathers. Some shows require show entries to be banded.

Only birds that meet show standards should be entered in a bird show. The birds are divided into categories for judging. The judges are extremely knowledgeable about the show standards for each category. Birds are judged from crest to claw. Judges look for a well-balanced body proportion. They should not see any frayed or pin feathers (new growth). The bird’s feathers should be clean and tight. Tail feathers should be the proper length and there should be no missing feathers. Wings should lay flat against the body and not cross over each other. Eye position is judged and there should not be any discharge. Beaks cannot be overgrown or scaly. There should be no nasal discharge. Legs should be strong. Toes should have no abnormal bends or curves and no toes can be missing. Claws should be normally worn. Last but definitely not least, vents cannot be dirty. Overall, the judge is looking for the healthiest and best-groomed bird in each Class, then each Section, and last the Best In Show.

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