Junior Handler Class

Over recent years less has been heard about 'Dads' winning the Juvenile class. Most clubs now have a keen group of Juniors who care for their own birds and prepare them for show. Juniors have more to aim for now: Championship and Regional awards, special trophies at the National, a Junior Proficiency exam and individual breed judging certificates.

Several societies, too, have introduced a 'talk with the judge' for the juniors showing in the Juvenile class. This takes many forms but there is no doubting the value of the dialogue and the sense of occasion it provides. The judge can pass on some of his knowledge while the juniors get a chance to display theirs.

At the National Show the class is described as a 'Junior Handler' and so the juniors are required to take the birds out of the pens and demonstrate their handling of the birds. The junior is prompted to talk about the breed and how they looked after them (link to PCGB CPP).

As all poultry standards are based on 100 points, this is a good place to begin.

Traditionally, what is judged is the bird in the pen so that must figure in the eventual result. After all, the aim of showing is breed excellence and improvement. Was the bird the child's and how much involvement did they have in the care and breeding? This would be apparent by such questions as 'what do you feed your bird?', how did you get it ready for show?' or 'how do you know your bird is in lay?'.

Questions, too, could be asked to find out the level of knowledge that the junior had about the breed points. Putting the child at ease and including the questions by way of conversation is a good way of obtaining the required information. It can be surprising the level of knowledge shown by some of our young fanciers.

An important aspect of showing is the preparation. If the bird on show is washed, has clean nails, does not have an overgrown beak, is clean in leg and does not carry parasites then the young exhibitor deserves credit. One can find out if they did the preparation themselves through a previous question about their involvement.

Finally, comes handling. How do they handle the bird? Are they confident? Can they remove the bird from the pen carefully? Can they hold the bird and examine it?

Therefore, these are the judging guidelines:

Quality of bird 20 points
Involvement of exhibitor 20 points
Knowledge of the breed 20 points
Show preparation 20 points
Handling 20 points
Total 100 points