Showing Waterfowl

  • What should I use to wash my ducks before a show?

    It is important that any bird that is going to be shown should be clean. Waterfowl have natural oils in their plumage and these should not be removed by the use of strong detergents. Waterfowl are quite good at cleaning themselves, but may need some assistance. Usually, all that is required is a thorough wash and a rinse in warm water. This is best done 24 hours before the show. Once the birds are washed, place them in a clean pen and allow them to dry naturally. Make sure the birds have water to preen themselves.

    Two things the birds can’t wash themselves are their feet and bills. Occasionally mud can cake onto the legs, and is stubborn to remove. Scrub legs and feet and use a soft damp rag on bills.

    A light vegetable oil should be applied to the bill and legs on the morning of the show. This enhances the bills and feet, and makes them really shine. Good presentation could be the difference between first place and no place!

    Special tips for show preparation?

    With alert breeds of waterfowl, such as the Indian Runner, feed them well up to one week prior to the show. Then start to reduce their daily intake. Do not give them any feed on show day until the judging is completed. This ensures they are in the right shape, a hungry duck is an alert bird. If you are showing any other breed, a small amount of feed prior to judging is fine.

    Showing is a great challenge and you will never stop learning new tips. Our advice to all intending to show is to first enter your bird to compare and not to win. Winning is a bonus but do not give up if you are defeated, just try harder next time. Also, remember each judge is different, and you may have a vastly different result with the same bird.