Photo: Laura Keens. Jon pictured with his light green CC-winning bird at the Bedfordshire BS open show last month
Last week Fred Wright offered advice for fanciers thinking of showing their birds for the first time, and now Jon Ashby contributes his own experience of what you really need to know
SO, YOU have some birds at home you feel incredibly proud of and are enticed by the world of show budgerigars. You feel very keen and enthusiastic about breaking your showing duck, but perhaps are also aware of some trepidation about taking that initial step.
Every experienced exhibitor has, of course, had to take the plunge and exhibit for the first time. More often than not, that exhibitor was likely nervous about getting something wrong in the entry process, which might get a bird or birds disqualified or cause themselves embarrassment. You need not overly worry, because the process is actually quite straightforward, as I shall attempt to explain.
I would always direct all new exhibitors to their local champion or, better still, their local club where he or she can obtain help from experienced exhibitors. They will hold your hand through the process and will not expect beginners to always get their first show entry perfect. Every club wants as many entries as possible and new exhibitors are always very much encouraged, in my experience.
I thought I would come up with a basic guide for first time exhibitors in which I shall attempt to explain the do’s and don’ts when applying for a show, readying for it and then the steps on the show day itself.
Get hold of the paperwork
The first stage is obtaining a show schedule and entry form. These can be requested via the club show secretary of the particular show you wish to enter. If it is a members’ show then, as the name suggests, you need to be a member of that club. Otherwise, the show will be an open show that anyone can enter. These annual open shows are mostly held between the months of June-September each year.
Once you have your schedule, then you need to decide which birds to enter. The practice of readying and preparing your birds is a whole other article in itself, but essentially you are looking for condition in the best birds you have selected as your show team, as a rule of thumb.
The entry form is straightforward. You need to fill in your name, address and contact details, show status – beginner because this is your first ever show – and in the patronage section you will mark against any clubs you are a member of, sometimes with your ring number for that particular club/society. By doing so, this tells the show organisers that, in the event you do well at the entered show, you are entitled to any awards that another club offers to the show as part of their patronage offer. These might take the form of rosettes or certificates of merit, for example.
Next, you work out how many birds you are going to put into the show and then the cost that will be due in the entry fees section. Then, sign and date the entry form to accept the conditions and rules of the show.
Before you send the entry form in – beating the strict deadline for doing so – you need to mark on the form the class number of each exhibit. This is the part that catches so many out, even experienced showhands sometimes,
if they are not concentrating!
In the centre of the schedule, normally there will be the classification list for each colour of bird for that size of show. This is broken down by young bird and adult bird, which is all governed by the ring that your budgie is wearing. If it is a closed ring for the present year on your exhibit bird, issued by the Budgerigar Society (BS), then you can show that bird as a current-year bred (CYB) young bird, also, bizarrely known as a “breeder” despite it being a less than a year old. These class numbers will be in a column heading “YB” for young bird.
Any bird that is not wearing a BS- issued ring for the present year, or is not wearing any ring, or is wearing a non-recognised ring, must be shown in the adult classes, also known as the any age classes. The class numbers for these will appear in the columns on the classification list headed “AA”.
A slight exception to the above rule is if the bird you wish to enter wears a BS ring for the current year of a different breeder (in other words, a bought-in bird). In that case, this budgie must also be entered in the any age class.
At present there are five categories of exhibitor (soon to be reduced to four). These are junior (up to 16 years of age), beginner, novice, intermediate and finally champion. You, as a beginner, need to find the beginner columns for AA and YB on the classification list. These are classes numbered 601-650 for any age birds and 701-750 for young birds.
Bird by bird
Work out, for each of your selected show team birds in turn, the colour, age and sex and then find it on the classification table by scrolling down it. For example, an own bred and BS-ringed 2018-ringed lutino cock will be a class 723 bird for a beginner, while a 2016-ringed grey hen will be class 612.
Select the appropriate class number and then write it on your entry form under “class number for bird entry one”, repeating the process until you have written each class number down for the birds you have ready to enter. Then get the form off, allowing the postal system time to deliver it, or better still scan and email it. Don’t forget to include your entrance fees payment, too.
After a few days, you will receive a sticky label with the class number on for each cage, as per your entry form. Hopefully, you have remembered to keep a copy of your entry. The label will have the class number for your entry, plus a second number in an adjacent box on the label. That is the number within the class your bird is listed on of the records of the show.
The next step is to make certain your show cages are clean and in a good state of repair. Ideally, you have repaired and painted these several months before and then cleaned them a week before the show, allowing plenty of drying time. A day before the show, fill each cage with a layer of loose seed on the base of the cage. This will give your birds something to eat for the duration of their time away from your bird shed, and is common practice for exhibitors.
- More beginner-exhibitor advice from Jon follows next week.
Jon Ashby is the show coordinator and publicity officer for Bedfordshire BS.
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