So, you want to show Serama?

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To my knowledge, there is not yet a simple, single reference on the available ways to show Serama.
My goal is to summarize the basics in an easy-to-understand format to help you understand your options.
In this article, I am going to focus on the types of show opportunities that exist and are available to you.
 

3 Types of Poultry Shows

What type of showing interests you?
The majority of Serama are shown at “Tabletop Shows”. These are shows where you place your Serama on a small, round, bar-height table. Usually, there are multiple tables: one for each exhibitor and their Serama. The bird earns points for being a quality Serama and presenting with the body and conformation that a Serama should (this is called their “type”). They earn points for their character on the table, how confident they are, how well they pose and display themselves proudly, their condition (how pristine their feathers are and how clean and well cared for they are at the time of the show), and then their behavior. They earn points for their performance on the table (crowing, walking confidently, flapping their wings). This is engaging and fun for those of all ages. The owners are required to stand back away from the table. From a short distance, they cheer and clap and encourage their Serama’s performance. The judge scores each Serama and chooses the highest-scoring Serama to advance to additional tiers where winners are chosen. For this type of show, one should practice at home in advance to make the Serama comfortable on a tabletop surface.
 
Despite dozens of Serama Tabletop shows occurring annually in many states, Tabletop shows are not yet available in every state. The goal of the Serama Council of North America (SCNA) is to support new shows in these areas with funding, prioritizing expansion to Serama fanciers and breeders in new areas. Consider traveling to the closest show you find. You will be welcomed with open arms from club members willing to help and teach you. Many “make a weekend” of the event or plan it as a short family vacation. It is fun for the whole family. Check out www.scnaonline.org for a list of Tabletop shows with more options added regularly.
 
I cannot find a Tabletop Serama show close enough to me!
If you cannot travel to or find a Tabletop show within a drivable distance, you can still show Serama! Tabletop showing originated by tradition in Malaysia where the Serama breed originated. No other breed of poultry has the same unique method of showing via Tabletop, yet many other breeds have been shown for hundreds of years in the United States.
They are shown at traditional poultry shows approved by the American Poultry Association (APA) or American Bantam Association (ABA). These shows are much farther widespread and common. It is likely you will find one close to you. Check out www.poultryshowcentral.com for a schedule of upcoming shows.
 
They will not have a Tabletop show? How will I show my Serama?
Serama can be shown in the same way other breeds of poultry are shown. They can be shown in-cage and judged by the APA/ABA judges at these shows. The birds are individually cooped into small, provided cages in neat rows and stacks. The birds are not scored on their performance, but rather on how confidently and appropriately they display themselves, their type (all the features that make them a quality Serama), their color, and on their overall condition and presentation.
Notice that phrase above that was added: ‘their color.’ A key difference: In Tabletop shows, the color of your Serama is not considered. For in-cage showing at APA/ABA shows, it is considered! Remember what the Tabletop judge was looking for? Not color. The goal of showing poultry in-cage is to standardize the breed and to make them uniform in color. Ideally, all specimens are of great type and appear very consistently of the accepted color varieties recognized by the ABA and APA. You will as you walk down the aisle of a poultry show and identify any specific breed that the birds are very consistent. They will look remarkably similar. They may look identical to your amateur eye. The judges work to choose the best specimen after close examination of each bird entered.
 
What colors do these shows recognize?
White, black, and exchequer Serama are the currently accepted and recognized varieties. White and black probably are obvious, but what is exchequer? Exchequer is essentially a bird that is 50% white, 50% black (like an Oreo!) with equals parts of each color. The colors should display so uniformly, on the ideal specimen, that there are solid black feathers and solid white feathers only.
 
We refer to birds that meet the color requirements of the APA/ABA’s accepted varieties “color-correct” and “American Serama”. At APA/ABA shows, the expectation is to see consistent (Think “cookie-cutter!”) Serama of high quality. Displayed Serama should meet all color requirements of the variety standard. These go beyond feather color to include the shanks (legs), the eyes, the earlobes, and the beak, which all have specific color requirements.
These in-depth color requirements can be found on the SCNA website for members. These include picture examples of Serama that depict these color requirements. Breeding birds to these requirements can be an added challenge, adding color as a requirement. It is also extremely rewarding to the breeder who accomplishes this feat and helps to promote the Serama in the show hall among other breeds of standardized poultry.
Breeders have demonstrated the ability to produce and reproduce these accepted varieties (colors) of Serama garnering their acceptance to the Standard. However, additional breeding is necessary to continue to improve these varieties.
 
Every new breeder or fancier must begin somewhere. Go to the show expecting to compare your best bird to the competition. Plan to see where you could improve and look carefully to compare the traits of each of the birds shown. We improve by comparing our birds to the Standard and to birds that closely resemble the Standard. We can then choose the offspring from each hatch that most closely resembles (or move closer to!) the ideal, “picture-perfect” Serama. It is acceptable to ask the judge (only after they have finished judging the show) if they could provide you with more specific feedback about your Serama or their choices of the specimens shown.
 
Are there any other ways to show my Serama?
There is a unique, newer method of showing, which has increased in popularity and availability due to the Pandemic. These are Virtual Shows. These should never replace the in-person experiences of learning that occur at both SCNA Tabletop or APA/ABA-sanctioned poultry shows, but they are an additional fun option when offered. To date, most all Virtual Shows are held using Facebook or YouTube technologies. Exhibitor videos (Tabletop shows) or photographs (APA/ABA-type shows) that meet specific requirements are uploaded where a judge reviews and compares the entries to select winners.
 
Virtual shows offered by poultry clubs that traditionally offer in-cage APA/ABA shows are typically communicated via email or on the host club’s web or Facebook pages. SCNA Tabletop Serama shows are communicated by the same means. At this time, I see the primary methods of communicating virtual shows being Facebook pages associated with the club. If you are a member of SCNA, make sure you join the Facebook group for Dues Paid Members to make sure you do not miss any information on upcoming events or opportunities to show your Serama.
 
Ok, I’ve got it!
In conclusion, it is recommended that anyone interested in showing Serama become a member of SCNA (www.scnaonline.org). Members will have access to the specific written standards needed for breeding.
 
It is completely OK’ if your Serama is not perfect! All Serama have areas that need improvement. The fun is in pairing one Serama with another that complements them, intending to improve them with each hatch of offspring.
 
Do not focus on winning or losing. If you put the effort in, the ribbons will eventually come. Focus on learning and trying to improve with each generation. If the offspring improve upon the pair of birds that produced them, then you have progressed. Always accept critical feedback when it is offered by judges or experienced breeders and seek that feedback when possible.
 
Lastly, this is a hobby or passion. It is supposed to be FUN! Always celebrate whoever’s bird wins. In the process, you will likely make some lifelong friends who share a similar passion for enjoying these birds- these tiny Serama chickens, that dance on tables for chicken enthusiasts on the weekends!
-Donnie of DG Seramas