by Ghalib Al-Nasser

VISITING the many shows around the country I can not help noticing the irregular way the birds are staged after they have been judged. At some shows the stewards tends to put birds back on the staging haphazardly which makes it difficult for fanciers to view the birds in that particular class.

A few shows tend to use the method of staging the birds in order of merit horizontally. For example class 1 will be on the top shelf in order of merit, followed by class 2 winners and so on. This will be carried forward to the middle shelf and when that shelf is completed then the bottom shelf will be filled in the same manner. This makes the task of viewing the birds very time consuming as the fancier has to parade along that run of rows three times to view all the classes in that section of shelves. The only advantage that this method offers is that a particular class will be placed on the staging in its order of merit, i.e. 1st to 7th and one can compare the birds of that class much more easily.

The most common method used by show promoting societies is that birds are placed back on the staging after   judging in a "column" format. For example in a class of 12 birds the winner is placed on the top shelf, followed by the second beneath on the middle shelf and the third at the bottom shelf. This process is repeated for the 4th, 5th and 6th in the class and eventually the 7th at the top shelf again with the remaining birds anywhere else.

At a glance the fancier will be able to compare the 1st, 4th and 7th position birds on the top shelf rather than 1st, 2nd and 3rd which is the way in which one want to compare them. Another problem that we face in most cases is the height of the top shelf. Invariably this is too high even for the 6 foot tall fanciers.

Having not been satisfied with either method of staging birds I devised a diagram showing how birds can be staged to give easy viewing of the top placed birds in the class and also to compare birds in their order of merit. The diagram below shows that the middle row is used for top prized birds rather than the top row. I will also show that depending on benched birds in a particular class one can always compare 1st placed bird with 2nd, 3rd etc all on one row of staging depending on the number of birds benched in that class.

Diagram Link For Layout

I use this method at the 5 shows that I am involved in, either as a show organiser or show manager, namely the Coventry Specialist & Rare Variety Open Show, London & SCBS, Southern Classic, Croydon and Southend open shows. Each chief steward has a copy of the diagram and I brief all stewards on how I would like the birds to be staged using the diagram and why we need to adopt this method.

I have used this method now for 10 years and have always had good reports on the staging of birds by this method. If any show manager would like a copy of the diagram then please send me a stamped addressed envelope: "Walden-Croft", 189 White Horse Hill, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 6DH. Tel: 020 8289 8879.

Another feature that show promoting societies need to consider is the presentation of their premier winners. Often you attend a show and try your best to see the major winners through the high number of rosettes that are attached to the cage. Investing in cage surrounds for the major winners and displaying the rosettes on the surround rather than on the cage will go a long way towards better show presentation.

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Copyright Ghalib Al-Nasser 2002 all rights reserved.