Note: I will get pictures to go along later on, but for now, I will try to explain a few of my showmanship tips that have won me championship rosettes and honors.
Rabbit showmanship is different in every state. In Oregon, you bring your rabbit up to the table and place it on a carpet square faces away from you. The judge goes up and down the table asking any questions they choose, that can be anywhere from handling, basic knowledge, breed point breakdown, and even 4-H basic knowledge like the pledge. In some states, you must rememorize and present a number of steps which seems very similar to a health check. I am going to explain the Oregon procedure since, well, I don't know the other!
Showmanship outfit and supplies. You need to have a clean carpet square that will make your rabbit stand out. Say, if your rabbit is a REW, you would want a dark carpet square like forest green or navy blue, rather than cream. Your outfit, again, varies from county to county and state to state. However, you need to have a long sleeved shirt that preferablily buttons up. Girls, a blouse works great! You should be wearing pants with a belt, if there are belt loops. Don't wear anything flashy to distract the judge. You should be wearing little to no makeup, no jewelry at all, and have your hair neatly out of your face. The color of your outfit should also make the rabbit stand out.
Getting your rabbit ready for showmanship. Your rabbit should've been worked with a little every day, well before the showmanship day. Your rabbit needs to know you will not hurt it and so it will trust you. It needs to be used to being handled. Make sure you know how to pose your breed, that is very important. If you have a Netherland dwarf, don't let it stretch out like a Himalayan. If you have a Californian, don't let it pose up like a holland lop. The rabbit needs to have it's nails neatly trimmed. You should use nail clippers for dogs or cats. The rabbit needs to be permanently tattooed in it's left ear for identification. The rabbit should be free of molt, with a healthy glossy coat. The eyes should be bright and clear. The rabbit should have an alert expression (don't let it fall asleep on the table... haha). Vents should be cleaned with a Q-tip and baby oil. Just make sure your rabbit looks 100% clean and healthy.
Bringing your rabbit to the table. When your class is called, be ready to get up there promptly. Your rabbit should be held in the "football" hold. Make sure you can see the rabbit's head from under your arm. Your other hand should be holding the ears of the rabbit for security. Also make sure you bring your carpet square up with you. Put the carpet square on the table vertical so there is enough room on the table for everyone. Place your rabbit down gently and face it away from you by turning it in quarter (45* angle) turns, by plaing your arms on either side of the bunny, pucking the entire rabbit up off the ground completely, and turning it. You don't want a toenail to get snagged. Do this extremely slow and smooth. The judge will not mind, and you want your rabbit to be comfortable. The judge is going to watch how you handle your rabbit. If you handle it roughly on the table, the judge is going to be afraid to even think how you handle rabbits at home! After your rabbit is facing forwards (or whatever direction the judge tells you to turn it), place your hands behind your back and face your body towards the judge. Always watch the judge, but don't stare them down.
Handling. Always handle your rabbit with extreme effort and care. Go SLOWLY and smoothly. Make sure you always have your rabbit supported when you pick it up, by placing a hand under the rabbit's rump. I will get into detail later with different positions when I get pictures up here.
Poultry Showmanship again, like rabbits, is different in every state. In Oregon, we are currently mainly using the California showmanship standard where you have 4 different steps to showmanship: Examine your bird, Posing and caging your bird, walking your bird, and knowledge. In Knowledge you will be asked basic questions like how to care for your bird, general knowledge of breeds, combs, parts of an egg, egg grades, incubation, health & diseases, handling, etc. The judge can pretty much ask you anyhting they want about poultry. You should know the APA and ABA classes for standards, bantams, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Make sure you know everything you can find on your showmanship bird's breed, like sex (cock, cockerel, hen, pullet, etc.), variety, breed, comb type, color of eggs they lay, and even standard weights are useful. I will try my best to explain the details of the other 3 steps.
Showmanship outfit and supplies. All you will need for poultry showmanship is a extending walking stick, like a pointer stick or an antena off of a radio. You need to be dressed clean and eat. Your clothes should have the bird stand out. If you have a black OEGB, you don't want to be wearing black as well. Your hair should be neatly out of your face, with nothing distracting. Do not wear earrings, rings, fingernail polish, or bracelets, as the birds will want to peck at them since they shine.
Coming up to the table. Bring your bird up to the table by holding it with its feet inbetween your fingers with its breast resting on your arm or hand. Your other hand should be on top of the bird's wings. Your wlking stick should be in your back pocket of your pants. Stand at the table facing the judge with your body. Do not put the bird on the table until he or she tells you to do so.
Examining your bird. There are 9 steps to examining your bird. 1) Head. Bring the bird to eye level. Take your finger and look at the birds head from all angles. Look for evenness, healthy eyes, beak color, comb color, etc. 2) Wings. Expland the first wing and look at all parts of the wing, including the "armpit" for parasites. Without moving the bird from your hand, bring your other hand under the bird's head and examine the other wing, doing the exact same things you did with the first wing. 3) Undercolor. Stroke the back of the bird from the base of the tail to the neck, pulling back the feathers. You can examine the undercolor, as well as new quils and any parasites. 4) Width of body. At where the wings connect to the body, take your thumb and pointer finger on either side of the body and run your hand down to the base of the tail. You are checking for the width of body, and also any broken ribs. 5) Keel bone. Flip the bird upside down over your shoulders, measure the keep bone, show the judge, feel for any abnormalties, and flip the bird back over. Don't hold the bird upside down for too long. 6) Vent. Check the bird's vent for moisture, pigment color, size, parasites, etc. 7) Depth of abdomen. Between the pin bones (right under the vent on either side) and the sternum (end of the keel), fit as many fingers as you can. Show the judge. 8) Width between pin bones. Fit as many fingers inbetween the pin bones as you can, show the judge. 9) Feet and legs. Check the legs by rolling the bird so it's back is against your stomach. You can rotate the bird to see all angle of it's feet and legs. Check toes, shanks, hocks, spurs, and thighs. After you are done, make eye contact with the judge and wait for further instruction.
Posing and Caging your bird. The judge will ask you to pose your bird. Do so according to the breed standard. One by one the judge will have you cage your bird. Open the cage open, put the bird in head first, without touching the cage with the bird. Place the bird in the cage gently, smooth it's feathers, close the cage door, and face the judge and make eye contact. When the judge tells you to, open the cage door, face the bird using quarter turns towards the door, pic up the bird like you would hold the bird, and take it out of the cage door head first without touching the bird to the cage. Close the door, and turn to the judge. The judge will have you return to your table, then wait patiently wait for further instructions.
Walking your bird.When the judge asks you to walk your bird, place the bird at the end of the table, in the center. Take out your walking stick and extend it just enough to reach to the bird. Tap the bird gently to get it to start walking. You are trying to get the bird to the end of the table (or where the judge tells you do go) while having the bird stay in the middle, and trying not to touch it with your pointer stick. The stick is just to direct it. If you have to tap your bird to get it to begin walking again, you can. When turning your bird around, turn it towards you by touching it's breast so it can't jump away. When you get to the end of the table, tap the bird on it's breast to get it to stop, and pose the bird with your pointer stick. Look at the judge through out walking your bird as well, eye contact is important!
Pygmy Goat showmanship is one of the hardest showmanship classes in 4-H in my personal opinion. Showmanship is basically handling, with a little bit of knowledge. You will need to have the breed standard scorecard memorized, for points and what a goat should look like and be built like, know the correct manuvers for walking your goat, how to set the goat up quickly and correctly, and basic knowledge of goats in general like care and health. Body parts are also extremely important to know.
Supplies and showmanship outfits. Pygmy Goats are shown with a collar and a short lead. A black nylon collar and lead works. Make sure they are not distracting (no hot pink leads). Showmanship outfits vary from county to county. At our county fair, you must wear a nice white shirt that is tucked into your pants. Our pants must be dark or white, however at state, you must be all white. If yours pants have a belt loop, a belt must be worn. Your shoes or boots should be clean. Your hair needs to be neatly out of your face, no jewelry should be worn.
Handling. When leading your pygmy into the ring, always enter in a clockwise direction, unless the judge tells you to do otherwise. The collar should be up by the goat's jaw bone, behind it's ears. You should hold the goat's head up in a showy manor and walk in a slow, graceful manor. You should be controlling the goat, the goat shouldn't be controlling you. When the judge tells you to stop, pull up on the lead gently to tell the goat you are stopping. Set up the leg closet to the judge, the next leg closet to the judge, etc. The front feet should be perpendicularly to the ground, directly under the shoulders. The hind feet should be set up fairly wide in back. When viewed from the side, the hocks should be vertically in line with the tail head. When you are finished, you should be squatting behind the goat with the goat inbetween you and the judge. The goat should always be inbetween you and the judge. If you have to switch sides, never step over the goat and never go behind the goat. You should switch in front of the goat's head.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Pictures are coming as soon as time allows.
Dairy Goat showmanship is new to me. It is fairly similar to pygmy goat showmanship, like manuvers and body parts, but you need to set them up slightly differently. When setting them up, you need to have the front feet set square beneathe the goats, right under the shoudlers. The hind legs should be set up to show the udder. The hocks should be under the tail head, but you have to make sure the udder is shown in thirds (1/3 in front of the leg, 1/3 under th leg, 1/3 behind the leg) when viewed from the side. Also, if your doe doesn't have a very nice topline, you can tickle her down to show her off to the best of her advantage. Make sure you hold her head high with the collar to show off her lean neck. You should squat behind your doe. You are showing off the goat, not yourself.
More tips coming later.