Making Sense of Cage Card Markings Part One
Newcomers to showing often are confused by what the cage card markings mean at the end of the day. It’s
relatively simple, but if you’re new to showing it can be confusing at first. This article will go over the basics.
All poultry accepted into the ABA and/or APA Standard of Perfection fall under certain categories. From the top
down they are: Class, Breed, Variety, Gender. For example, if you have a Black Cochin Bantam young female, she’d
be classified as follows:
Remembering that there are four genders for birds is helpful (strange as that may sound to a new fancier.) A male
over one year of age is a Cock, a female over one year of age is a Hen, a male under one year of age is a Cockerel,
and a female under one year of age is a Pullet. These designations are written as: C,H,K,P on cage cards.
So you arrive at your first show and are unsure what to do? Check in with the show secretary and get an exhibitor’s
list. That will have your number on it. All birds are identified on cage cards by their owner’s number, not name (to
keep things completely fair during judging.) Next you must find the Class in which your bird is, so for your little
Cochin bird, that would mean Featherleg. Often this is abbreviated as FLEG on a cage card. Once you find the row
of cages with the Featherlegs, look for the breed Cochin. Then search for the Variety Black (colors are referred to as
Varieties.) Then look for gender, seeking out the Pullets. Finally, look for a cage in the Pullet section with your
exhibitor number on it. In your bird goes!
After the judge has finished and you may enter the aisle (don’t do so while he or she is actually judging), and take a
look at the cage card for your bird. There may be any number of markings, or even nothing at all. Here’s a
breakdown of what some of the markings may mean:
- A number like 1 or 2 or 3 means you have the first, second, or third of that gender in that breed. So if your
little Cochin has a 1 on her card, she was the best Black Cochin Pullet.
- BV stands for Best Variety. That means that of all the genders of that color, or Variety, your bird was the best.
- RV stands for Reserve of Variety. That means of all the genders of that color, or Variety, your bird was the
- BB stands for Best of Breed. That means of all the birds of all the Varieties within the breed itself (Bantam
Cochin, in this example), your bird was the best.
- RB stands for Reserve of Breed. That means of all the birds of all the Varieties within the breed itself (Bantam
Cochin, in this example), your bird was the second best.
- CH FLEG stands for Champion Featherleg. That means of all the birds of all the Varieties of all the Breeds that
compose the Featherleg Class, your bird was the best. An achievement to be proud of.
- RCH FLEG stands for Reserve Champion Featherleg. That means of all the birds of all the Varieties of all the
Breeds that compose the Featherleg Class, your bird was the second best. Also an achievement to be proud of.
- CH Bantam stands for Champion of the Bantam class, which means that your bird was the best Bantam bird in
the entire show. Reason to celebrate indeed!
- RCH Bantam stands for Reserve Champion of the Bantam class, which means that your bird was the second
best Bantam bird in the entire show. Reason to celebrate as well!
- CH Large Fowl stands for Champion of all the Large Fowl in a show. Again, reason to celebrate indeed!
- GCH of Show stands for Grand Champion of the entire show, including Large Fowl, Bantams, and Waterfowl.
A rare honor, sought after by many.
- RGCH of Show stands for Reserve Grand Champion, number two bird of the entire show, including Large
Fowl, Bantams, and Waterfowl. Also a rare honor.
I hope this sheds some light on what all those markings mean on cage cards at a show, and makes the judging
process a bit clearer. Some judges will make additional comments on the cards which are pretty self-explanatory.
Best of luck to you all at your next show!
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