In a show or exhibition, the chickens are placed in allocated pens (small cages) that are usually in rows and stacked two units high and they will remain within the pen during the competition. This can be an alien environment, especially if it’s their first time in a show, as such it can cause stress in the birds. Not only will they need to cope with transportation to the show and being placed in a cage in solitary confinement, they will also potentially be removed and put back in the pen by the judges on a number of occasions, whilst surrounded by noise from other birds and people, public address systems, and potentially machinery.
It is useful to get your chickens used to this by pen training them prior to the show. This will ensure the birds’ stress levels are minimised and equally that the bird will look its best and remain calm throughout.
There are various techniques deployed when pen training, but simply getting them used to being put in and picked out of the pen, talking to them whilst they are in the pen, and playing the radio when you are not around can make a significant difference to their (and your) stress levels.