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Show birds either waterfowl or chickens need at least some coop training before they go to their first show. Some cooping used at home off and on to familarize them with the show experience will usually pay off.


Ducks and geese can freeze to metal surfaces if they rest on them after bathing in severe cold weather. Free them with hot water poured on the ice holding their feathers. Straw laid over metal surfaces can help prevent such problems.


It is vitally important to recognize when a duck or goose is ill. In my experience, the best indicators are the eyes. Eyes which appear listless are usually a sign that something is wrong. Other signs include loss of appetite and ruffled feathers.


While they will occasionally find some themselves, ducks should not be fed earthworms by their keepers since the worms can be intermediate hosts to parasites which can infest ducks.


Chickens which are shown a lot often get stale and lose their bloom. One way to revive them is to put them out in a range structure where they can benefit from the sunshine, greens, and the occasional protein from a bug.


Brand new show coopoing has a type of graphite on it to protect against rust. Do not put white birds into such cooping without being sure that the graphite has been removed. Do it yourself if necessary.


Birds at a show show not be fed anything but a treat prior to judging as feeding tends to distort their crop and makes them listless. Feeding them small amounts of a treat food once in a while will get them when a person (judge) approaches.


Mice and rats should not be allowed to become established  in outbuildings housing poultry. They can spread disease and will consume a surprising amount of the bird's feed. Rats can even become predatory.


Straw works well as bedding for waterfowl or chickens during the winter but it must not be allowed to become wet and matted down.


Even the toenails of young birds grow fast enough to adversely affect how the birds walk and should be trimmed periodically.


One good substitute for the spiral colored bands is a small size of colored zip tie. They will not cut into the bird's leg  as some spirals do.


If you must use colored spiral plastic bands on waterfowl, check them frequently to assure that they have not become too tight. Such bands can cause leg injury when allowed to cut into the leg tissue of ducks and geese


Provide greens to waterfowl as far into the winter as possible. A supply of rabbit pellets (unmedicated) during the winter which makes up no more than 10% of the diet is a good idea, especially for geese.


Waterfowl should have their nails attended to by their keeper periodically. Toe nails which are allowed to get too long will affect the bird's ability to walk.


Waterfowl are not safe from West Nile Virus until after at least one killing frost in the fall. Young birds are most vulnerable.


Whole oats is probably the most complete single grain for growing chickens or waterfowl but they must be taught to eat it as they would favor less nutriious corn if allowed to do so.


As the show season approaches, potential show birds should be examined carefully and any damaged or broken feathers should be removed. Flight feathers can take as long as six weeks to fully regrow.


In the hot summer months, little or no corn shoulf be fed. Whole oats is the best type of whole grain to be fed. Birds must be taught to eat oats, however, since it is not naturally a grain that they prefer.


The Buff varieties of chickens, ducks, and geese must be kept out of the sun to prevent bleaching of their plumage.


Shade is very important for both chickens and waterfowl during the summer months. The best kind of shade is so-called green shade, which is provided by trees, grape arbors, etc.


Water in cups, bowls, and pools for poultry of all kinds should be changed frequently in hot weather to prevent it from becoming a source of illness.


Ducks and chickens are also suseptible to external parasites, especially when they are kept with chickens and/or have no access to swimming water.


Chickens must be protected regularly with inscticides to keep mites and lice from becoming a problem. A severe infestation of mites (which suck blood) can weaken or even kill a bird.


Before ducklings or goslings are put in a brooder, it should be wiped down with a powerful sanitizer. Bacteria can exist on wooden surfaces in particular for long periods of time. For more on health, see the article More Frequently Asked Questions.


Never set eggs that are misshapen or which have poor quality shells. Such traits tend to be passed down from mothers to daughters.