It is often said that Judges are born rather than made, whether this is true or not it is certainly clear that some of the common attributes required by all Judges such as decisiveness and confidence are inherited but others, particularly those relating to the depth of breed knowledge, most certainly have to be learnt.

There are qualities, which a judge requires, other than simply sorting in a class of birds into a ranking order.  This skill is necessary, but only as one of many.  Newcomers to the fancy will start to compare birds at an early stage.  This tends to be done by comparing young birds with their parents or by comparing birds at a show.  These are good methods of developing an eye for a bird. This is only one part of the formula for becoming a judge and a good one at that. Confidence is the most important asset because without confidence a judge should not get far. 



It is important that a judge possess certain qualities.

Ability:  He will need a natural eye for the bird.

Confidence:  Try to suppress his nerves.

Courage:  To stand by his decisions.

Thick skin: Don’t let disagreements worry him.

Patience: To spend time with the difficult birds but do not dawdle, neither rush his job.

Unbiased:  Judge birds on the day and not on past reputation.

Ethics:  Not to criticize his fellow judges especially in front of exhibitors.




2 pens of different colour.

2 or 3 judging sticks (one to be left in the cage for the difficult bird).

Breed Standards.

Judging Manual.

Organization’s Constitution.



Small magnifying lens (for those rings that are difficult to read).




Judging list.

Clip boards.



Judging not only depends on judging ability even though that is the most important part. In order to become a judge it is important to develop knowledge of show and judging procedures.  A judge will become part of an elite group of fanciers (from status point of view). 


Because a prospective judge will be required to pass exams, it is important to prepare, study, read and ask questions.  Indeed for those fanciers who are intermediates who would like to proceed to the next status and furthermore want to become judges will find judges exams and training schemes very useful.



At shows and inquests it would be fair to say the greatest topic of conversation and arises from the placing of the awards.  Criticism of the judge has always been part of the fancy.  In past years this quite often became heated and even abusive, friendships became strained and this aspect of the fancy inhibited many of our more respected breeders from judging.  There is no doubt that a thick skin is a great help to judge and nowhere is this required more when one is usually judging the birds of long-standing friends.  Because of this they feel that they can express themselves more freely and we all have to learn to take this in our stride.


The judging engagement commences with the initial invitation a few weeks before the show. This could be in the form of a letter, verbal or telephone.  In all cases the judge must give his answer promptly.  If the invitation is by telephone or verbally then insist that a letter of conformation is sent as soon as possible.

In all cases, and if the judge has accepted the invitation the judge must reply in writing by stating his requirements to the show promoting society:

Judging fee.

Traveling expenses.

Accommodation if the place is too far for a morning travel.

If for any reason, and it needs to be a good one, the judge  are unable to fulfill his commitment to the show then he must inform the Show Secretary who invited him well in time to give them the opportunity to engage another judge, better still recommend one or two judges to them.  Everyone will understand extenuating circumstances.

It is most infuriating to show officials and himself if a judge arrive late.  It will set the judge back both mentally and time-wise.  Try to avoid many hours of traveling on the morning.  Less than three hours of travel will be sufficient.



Whether you are an exhibitor, an Intermediates Judge, Reviewer, Judge or a Senior Judge it does no harm to remember that the Judge is there, on that day, to Judge the exhibits.  No Judge will ever please every exhibitor and he can only do his best without showing fear or favor. 

The simple truth of the matter is that most judges do the job because they love it; they love handling good stock, they love travelling all over the country and the friendship and banter with the fanciers they meet on their travels.



The Reviewer will be at least a Panel D judge and will act in the interest of SPSA and the exhibitors at every show. He will also be in control of all judges at SPSA Shows.

The appointed Reviewer will assist, control and sign off judge’s lists of SPSA Panel B-E Judges who judge categories for which they do not hold a Judge’s Certificate.

He may alter placements and awards made by unqualified judges and will control and sign of the judges lists of all unqualified judges.

He may also grant permission to apprentice judges to sign price cards as the acting judge.

The Reviewer will at the opening of each show announce any additional rules or amendments to the judging rules of the show.

He will have free access to the precincts to the show and ensure the smooth operation of judging.






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