Welcome to: The Cochin Coop 
 Bantam Cochins

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Preparing birds for show:

I thought this would be a good how-to for people just getting into showing. I tried to make it as simple and to the point as possible. This is just what I have learned showing my own birds smile

As far as getting your birds ready for show I will give you the simple steps. I show Bantam Cochins, but a lot of steps apply to all breeds. Birds should be at least 6 months old before you show them and have their adult feathers in and be fairly close to the adult weight. Cochins tend to take about a year or more before they show well. Another thing to take into consideration is that if your birds are kept outside they will develop a brassy tint to the feathers or the color can fade. They are best kept out of direct sunlight, but sometimes that is just not an option depending on your particular setup.

*6-8 weeks before show pluck any broken damages feathers. It will take them that long to grow back in. They will break others after this time but it's best to go through them well before the show and also when you give them baths.

*a few days to a week before show give them a bath. You want to do this several days before the show to allow for the bird to preen the oil back into the feathers. It's also better to wash your white or light birds closer to the show to keep them cleaner. My splash tend to do best around 2 days prior. Dark birds look better once they get their natural oils back in. Trim nails and beaks and check feathers for broken or damaged ones and pluck them, do this all BEFORE the bath in case of any blood and keep styptic powder handy. Nails and beaks are cut just like trimming a dog's nails and you can use a nail file to smooth them down and give them a natural look. (I wash my birds the same way I groom dogs) I place the bird in the tub and hose it down real good. I use shampoo in mixing bottles (dawn works good too) and lather the bird up good. It will take a couple times to get the bird fully wet. Be careful not to get the head wet. Lather bird untill fully wet and soapy and an old toothbrush can be used to scrub feet and poopy feathers. If the bird is white or partly white you can use whitening shampoo or blueing (about a tsp in a quart of mixed soap) let that sit for about 5-10 minutes and then rinse VERY well. Make sure the bird has been shampooed with a mild shampoo to completely wet the feathers before you apply the bluing as it can stain if put on white feathers. Be careful as if may tint the bird blue. That is a tough call though since it's either a brown tinted bird or a blue tinted bird. Make sure you rinse well. If you don't get all the soap out the feathers will dry stuck together or clumpy looking. You can also use a rinse water with vinegar in it to cut the soap. I like to use fabric softener (applied the same way as soap) and rinse most of it out to make them soft and smell good.


*wrap them in a towel for about 20 minutes and then blowdry in the direction of the feathers unless silkie or frizzle then dry opposite the direction of the feathers. Be sure to check on your birds that they do not get too hot while wrapped in the towel. For the birds that are not fluffy I think air drying would be fine. The blow drying fluffs them up. Make sure to keep them warm and away from drafts. You can use a metal flea comb to get out the feather sheaths from molting. I use a professional dog force air dryer for my birds because it is handy, but it is good in the fact that it doesn't blow hot air.

When you coop in:

*put vet rx or some kind of vicks smelling stuff on combs and wattles. Increases blood flow, bringing out the red

*check for poopy butts and feet (baby wipes are good for fresh poo) metal flea combs and slicker brushes work well for combing out for dried poo and also feather sheaths from molting.

 *dog waterless shampoo works wonders in a pinch

*I also use white dab-on shoe polish to whiten poop stained feathers.

*baby oil can also be used on combs (not too much) and on the legs of clean-legged breeds

*a mink oil based hair sheen spray works well for making the birds feathers even shinier. I use Pink brand. Wipe them down with a microfiber towel after spraying to spread it on the feathers.

Show box contents list:
-Your NPIP form, and health certificates if needed.
-Food (or scratch) and water for all your birds.
-Your own food and water cups (DO NOT mark them with your name anywhere but on the bottom, judges do not want to know whose birds they are looking at for fairness)
-Extra shavings, just in case (if you have room.)
- Some Baby Oil, VetRX, or Vaseline, for putting around eyes and beaks to make them shine (not too much
- Pink Spray, or Show Sheen to spray their birds with. Pink is a mink oil based human hair product and Show Sheen is for horses. Spray the feathers and wipe with a microfiber rag.
-Terrycloth towels and baby wipes for last minute touch-ups.
-metal flea comb and slicker brush for removing dried poo and feather sheaths from molting
-Bucket and water in case you need it, you never know.
-Clear plastic sheet to put between your cages and another birds (to prevent fighting.)
-Adams Flea and Tick spray. Spray under wings, behind neck, and near vent when cooping out if you're not using Frontline for dogs.

Conditioning should be done year-round. Birds need to be fed a high protein food especially during new feather growth. They should be kept parasite free to maintain weight and kept in clean conditions and out of the mud to keep them in condition. I had to build a coop with individual cages with deep pine shavings to keep the foot feathers in condition and cut down on the sunburn. They were getting too bad outside. As far as training goes for shows it should end up being natural for them. I handle mine regularly from chicks and spread wings, feet, hold beak and examine head, etc. to look for structure, possible injuries, parasites, feather condition, color, etc. When you get in the habit of this from youngsters, they are pretty much already trained and stay that way so there is not much extra to do. If you have a skittish breed they should get accustomed to being in a small cage and being put in and taken out of it. For parasite prevention I use Frontline Plus for dogs at a rate of .15cc per 5 lbs. This should be done monthly for mites. I use Ivermectin pour on for cattle for worms at a rate of .35cc per bantam. It's 1cc per 22 lbs if you know what your standard birds weigh. I use the ivermectin about once every 3 months

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