All it takes is a basic knowledge of poultry or animals to judge the 4H competitions at the Prince George Exhibition.
After all everyone is a judge every day of their lives as they make decisions between apples vs. oranges and what to watch on TV or see at the movies. In order to judge 4H events at the PGX or other fairs a basic knowledge of the animal is necessary.
It's all William Ironside had when he stepped up as a volunteer judge of poultry at 4H events three years ago.
"They asked me one year if I wanted to judge for the 4H," said Ironside. "I said I'm not a qualified judge but I'm willing to judge because I've had chickens basically all of my life. It's something I like and enjoy and I'm trying to pass the knowledge onto younger kids so they will continue doing it."
Ironside has since become certified with the American Poultry Association.
He said the important thing to remember when judging kids, sometimes as young as six or seven and on some occasions even younger is to make it a positive experience.
"You try to judge it so they want to keep doing it," said Ironside. "You don't want to discourage them. You want to make it so everyone keeps enjoying it but at the same time you want to treat them fairly."
At the PGX there are two types of judgments happening - one for the kids showing their poultry and a second for the marketable turkeys that will be up for auction. Some of the things a judge will look for with the kids are the cleanliness of their birds and how they handle - are they flighty or calm?
Ironside said some things to ask the competitors are about the food they're feeding their birds and why they've chosen that particular food. For a marketable bird, he said you want them to be on the chubby side but not too fat and you need to know that they've been fed properly in order to price them right.
When a person is looking to start caring for poultry there are a few things to look for.
"You have to make sure you have the right shape or colour for the breed," said Ironside. "You want them to handle nice. You don't want a bird that's going to be aggressive and miserable to you all the time."
Ironside said the at the PGX and similar shows most people are there to learn more about a hobby they enjoy.
"When you go to the shows you ask different people questions so you can learn new things about the breeds and what they're looking for," he said. "Most people go there to have fun and enjoy each other's company and you're talking to a lot of like-minded people."