GORDON Bradley knows a thing or two about chickens, in fact what he doesn't know would barely fill a few lines in his trusty guide book.
Mr Bradley, from Swan Hill, has been judging birds at the Ballarat Show for almost 40 years, having grown up in a family of poultry lovers.
"I've been showing birds since I was six and I'm 61 now, so what's that? 55 years," he said. "My grandfather won his first ribbon back in Swan Hill in 1921. We're into a fourth generation now.
"My show is Old English Game, Modern Game and the Wyandotte breed."
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Mr Bradley said he travelled all around the country judging breeds of bird.
"I've worked out I've been judging for almost 40 years, I first started to come down here in 1981," he said.
"It's a beautiful competition, there's excellent birds. Today we've had 32 different breeds and what I've really noticed particularly lately is there are women coming out of the woodwork.
"Traditionally it was a male dominated world and we're talking 99 per cent of the entrants, but now at least 30 per cent are female."
Mr Bradley said there were more than 80 different breeds of chicken breed in Australia and he used a guide book to determine the success in each category.
"For example the Old English Game, the colour is worth 40 points out of 100. You have to be incredibly switched on just to understand the book," he said.
"Every five years you have to sit an exam to upgrade your accreditation."
He said regional shows were much friendlier than the Royal Melbourne Show.
"In the regional area, generally people have some idea and they have made an effort to get to know the breeds, in the city, a chook's a chook."
It was a damp and cold Ballarat Show Day, but that didn't stop hundreds of families flocking to opening day festivities. Old favourites including thrill rides, sideshow alley and show bags again proved popular.
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