In any case it shall be understood that the tabled DEFECTS AND GENERAL DISQUALIFICATIONS are for general defects and general disqualifications only, i.e., those applying to all breeds or a number of breeds.  Individual breed or variety defects and disqualifications, other than those specified, shall be considered in comparable fashion to other defects and disqualifications, i.e., according to the severity of the defect or disqualification. 



Parasites: Examine the bird for lice or mites. Parasites on a bird are a disqualification.

Back: Use the palm of your hand to run over the bird’s back to determine its length and width. Meat variety birds will have a long and wide back. Check the back feathers for the under colour and for signs of moulting or missing feathers.

Where the back is described as “broad its entire length,” the carcass should carry the desired width not only from the shoulders to the hips, but also as near as possible to the base of the tail.  A specimen who narrows sharply from the hips is nearly as faulty as if it were narrow at the hips. Examine narrowness of shoulders.

Breast: Flip the bird over and hold their back against your chest. Measure the length of the keel bone, sometimes called the breast bone, with your first finger and thumb. This is also to check that the keel bone is straight and does not have any bumps or dents.

Wings: Whilst holding the fowl with your one hand, use your other hand to naturally spread the wing by pressing it near the body of the fowl. The wing will naturally open to indicate a split wing, the colour, and absence of feathers, slipped wings, split wings, twisted feathers or other defects. Look at the condition of the primary and secondary feathers and coverts. Check for signs of moulting. Take a closer look at the skin on the inside for mites.

Crop: Examine the crop for fullness and abnormalities.

Abdominal Capacity: Check the abdominal area and look for the vent opening. A large abdomen or large internal capacity is necessary for adequate intestinal development, which is essential for rapid digestion assimilation of food necessary to heavy egg production. When the standard description reads, “deep and full,” the judge should determine this dimension by placing his thumb on the hip bone and spanning with his hand and fingers the sides of the body to the keel bone in front and in back of the legs. Use your fingers to examine the spread of the pubic bones, the space between the rear of the keel bone and the pubic bone. Look at the abdomen area for a Waterfowl’s trimness (leanness) and hardness. Check the feather condition in this area.

Width of Body: Place your thumb and first finger around the widest part of the bird’s body, or right behind the wing or shoulder joints. Compare the measurement with the breed standard.  

Heart-Girth: Heart-girth is measured by determinating the width of the back and the depth of the body immediately behind the juncture of the wings and body. It is important that this portion of the body be adequate for the proper functioning of the heart for full development of the lungs and when of sufficient size is conducive to health, vigor, longevity and production.

Vent: Lower the bird slightly so that the head is facing you. Part the fluff feathers and check for mites and lice. The vent (the chickens all-purpose exit point) should be moist and white, with no lumps, crustiness, bleeding etc.



Head: The head is of great importance as it indicates the state of health and vitality. Examine the bird’s head to see if it is short, round and wide. Check to see how prominent are the cheeks of the bird and the condition of the head plumage. Examine narrowness of the head. While the same general descriptive terms may be used in describing head parts of Cornish, Brahma or other meat type breeds, it naturally follows that such terms shall be considered relatively rather than literally, since a more massive type of head is more appropriate on, and typical of, such breeds.

Beak: Examine the beak size and prominence.

Bill: Examine the bill to determine its colour, shape and whether it is short and wide. Look to see if the colour of the bill is true to the breed or the sex. 

Comb:  When fully grown the chicken should sport a nice firm comb. Examine the comb for good substance and size and colour. The over-refined, thin type of comb is not only liable to buckle or show thumb marks, but also indicates lack of constitutional vigor.

Eyes: The eye should be large, bright and prominent, the iris rich in colour, the pupil distinctly and perfectly formed. Look at the bird’s eyes to check their size and colour and to observe for blindness. Point your index finger at both eyes. Compare the colour with the breed standard. The eye should be large, bright and prominent, the iris rich in colour, the pupil distinctly and perfectly formed.  The condition of the eye frequently indicates some form of systemic disease, including leucosis.

Nose: Examine the bird’s eyes and nose to check if there are no discharges.

Wattles: Compare with Breed Standard

Ear-lobes: Compare with Breed Standard

Ears: Compare with Breed Standard

Neck: Examine the bird’s neck area for length and strength, ducks generally have strong necks. Check the arch of the neck. Examine the feather condition of the neck for abnormal colouring.



Feet and Legs: Turn the chicken so that the head is facing toward the judge. Then hold out the feet and legs of the bird and look them over, checking for dirt, scaly leg, bumble foot, and other diseases and defects that might be present. Check the legs for straightness, cleanliness and colour. Look at the foot for abnormalities and abscesses.

Look at the colour on front and back of shanks and feet, counting each toe. Look at the feet of a hen for pigment loss.

Toes: Examine the toes and toe nails for colour, length and to see if any toes or toe nails are missing. Check the webs of the feet for damage, abnormalities and parasites.

Scaly Leg: Scales on the legs and feet should be smooth and not lifting. Any specimen with this condition sufficiently advanced to have significantly altered the type or colour of the feet or legs shall not be awarded first prize.

Leg Colour: The colour of the legs is a good indicator of whether the chicken is laying. If they are very yellow then she is probably not laying eggs yet. If they are pale almost white then she probably is, similar to the photo.



Feather Quality: Examine the body plumage. Run your fingers over the neck, back and breast area to feel for smoothness. Note the colour and quality of feathers. Look for the presence of lice. Feathers act as a protective covering for fowl, protecting it from cold, rain, sun and injury, also aiding in short flight.  It is important that the feathers be relatively broad, the web of good firm texture, with a strong shaft, the barbs, barbules and barbicels closely and tightly knitted together, with the exception of a very few ornamental breeds such as Silkies, Frizzles and Sebastapol Geese.  Early and full feathering is associated with a good relatively broad feather of firm structure, judges and breeders are especially instructed to give full consideration to this important quality.  Narrow thin feathers inclined to silkiness often found in the back, wings and tail coverts, are particularly to be avoided and no specimen with this characteristic should be used for breeding.

Sickles: Compare with the Standard

Side hangers:  Compare with the Standard

Coverts: Compare with the Standard

Tail: Examine the tail. Run your hand down the tail. Press the tail feathers towards you. Look for colour and feather quality and determining any sign of moulting. Check or count to see that all tail feathers are present. Look for curled feathers, an adult drake will have curled sex feathers in the middle of the tail feathers. Examine tail carriage.

Under-colour: Lift the feathers on the bird’s saddle or neck and blow under them. This is checking that the bird’s under-colour, or the colour of the feather shafts, is correct, as well as checking for mites or lice. Proper surface gives identity, beauty and uniformity.  Under-colour is also a characteristic of each colour pattern.  It should be considered but not granted undue emphasis.  In very tight feathered breeds (ex. Malays, Games, etc.) under fluff may show through at junction of back and tail, shoulders, wingbows, etc.

Brassiness: On the surface plumage of white fowls is a serious defect and shall be discounted according to Cuts for Defects.

Grey Specks: A few very small, greyish specks in white fowls shall not prevent a specimen that is otherwise superior in type and colour from winning over one which is less typical in type but sound in colour, provided the grey specks do not appear prominently in the primary, secondary or main tail feathers.

Moult in Wild Pattern Drakes (Rouens, grey Call Ducks and grey Indian Runners):  Allowance shall be made for normal seasonal plumage change when judging males of these breeds and varieties.

Faded Pigmentation:  A fading or bleaching of colour from that described in the Breed Standard for the beak and shanks or the pigment in yellow skin breeds is a defect when the result of poor health or seasonal changes.



Weight: When size and weight cannot be determined by comparison, it is advisable to require the weighing of the birds. Disqualifying weights for adult specimens shall apply at all times, but due allowance should be made for decreased weight in adult birds in the moult during the late summer and fall of season. The weight clauses shall not be interpreted to mean that a small and over-fat specimen fulfills the Breed Standard requirements. 

Size: Weights must be in proportion to size, at the same time preserving the ideal type and type for the breed.



Faking is a deliberate attempt to deceive the judge or a prospective purchaser. Evidence of faking shall be reason to disqualify that bird. Judges officiating at any show shall cooperate in the enforcement of this provision.



Feathers on shank: Feathers which have been pulled out leaving a neat row of holes down the shank.  No feathers are visible but evidence of them having been there is very clear.  If a hot needle was inserted in the hole left by the removed feather the feather does not grow again.   

Feather in toe: This is easier for the judges as its either “in” or “out”.  Had the exhibitor been careless and left the feather in, the bird would be disqualified, however if he pulled the feather out he may get away with it.

Feather in the hock: Same as above but miraculously after judging these feathers disappear into thin air and the exhibitor invariably engages in an argument with the judge as to where these feathers are or if in fact there were any.

Side sprigs: It can also be removed leaving little or no evidence.

Butterfly Comb: OEG hens very often have a butterfly at the back of the comb, one leaf of which is cut off.  This does leave a definite mark or scar but the deed is done.  To say it was there and had been removed leads to a challenge and denial from the exhibitor.



In judging trios, the male shall receive a value of one-half of the pen; females shall match in size, general shade of colour and markings.







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