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Standards and Judging

Standards and Judging




This article is intended to help exhibitors and breeders understand the standards for the three Serama types and the two kinds of exhibition available for Serama.




There are currently two types of competitions in which the Serama can be judged. These are “in-cage judging” and “table-top judging”.


In-cage Judging


In-cage judging is the traditional judging style in American Poultry Association (APA) and American Bantam Association (ABA) shows. This type of exhibition involves exhibitors placing their birds in assigned cages. The judge then approaches each cage and examines each bird to evaluate its type as per the standard for the breed. The judge does pick up the bird in this examination. In this type of competition the judge is ONLY looking at the physical attributes of the bird. Character and personality are not considered in this evaluation.


ABA/APA requires type, weight and color standards for every breed being exhibited to receive APA/ABA points at their sponsored events. The Serama Council of North America (SCNA) was the driving force of the American Serama standard toward APA/ABA acceptance since the original Serama importation in 2001. When the SCNA delivered the American Serama Standard for APA/ABA approval and acceptance, the ownership of the American Serama Standard written by the members of SCNA was awarded to those entities.


Judging Instructions


In posing the American Serama one should use either one's hand or judging stick to slowly move the head backwards so the eye lines up with the leg. In doing so the back of the comb will come in contact with the two main sickles on a male or the top two tail feathers on a female. Once the eye is in line with the leg one should notice that the large wings are downward sloping or vertical as called for in the American Serama Standard. Also,  the breast is thrust upright and the American Serama is posed in an upright manner.


When posed thus one can clearly see the breed characteristics that make up the breed; namely the moderately large upright tail, large downward sloping to vertical wings and upright breast. One should always keep in mind that this is an upright breed unlike so many breeds developed in America that are horizontal in shape.




Table-top Judging


Table-top judging is an exhibition style that comes to us from Malaysia where the Serama originates. This is the traditional competition used to evaluate Serama for generations in Malaysia. Table-top judging is unlike any other poultry exhibition style conducted in North America today.


The Traditional Serama and Ayam Serama are judged in table-top exhibition. This exhibition style involves the exhibitor placing the Serama on a designated exhibition table. There is a minimum of three (depending on the size of the show) Tiers in this type of exhibition.


Tier I:


The exhibitor has a brief period to pose the bird in a way that presents its best characteristics. The judge then evaluates the bird based on multiple criteria. Seventy five percent (75%) of the score for the bird is based on type, per the standard (as with in-cage judging). However, 25% of the score is based on the bird’s Character and Performance; two characteristics that set the Serama apart in the poultry world.


Tier II:


The highest scoring birds entered in each class are called back to compete for the Champion and Reserve Champion placings for the class. Each bird will have a separate judging table, but all show together at the same time. The judge will observe the birds and select the class champion, and reserve class champion. Judging criteria for tier II will be type and performance, equally weighted.


Tier III:


The class champions for each class are placed on exhibition tables to compete for the show Champion placing. As with Tier II, this level is judged on both type and performance, equally weighted.


Serama Table Top Judging Procedures


General and First Round Judging:


Prior to being judged, the Serama can be kept in a Special Show Coops or in personal carriers.


The judging area will be delimited with a rope or colored tape and will be a minimum distance of 5Feet (or 1.5Meters) between the show attendees and the judging tables for creating a boundary which all should respect.


Cheering, noise making, and waving from the attendees during judging is allowed and encouraged. No objects can be thrown at the tables.


The Judge(s) can restrict certain behavior of the Attendees and Exhibitors if it negatively impacts the judging process.


The Judge must have an electronic or mechanical timer set for 80 seconds during general first round judging. The timer will be started by the Judge or the Clerk when the exhibitor sets the Serama on the table. After posing the bird on the table the Handler should immediately step outside of the judging perimeter.


The Judge will score the Serama using the scorecard during the 80 seconds of the first round of judging. The judge should touch the bird minimally, if at all, during the judging period.   If a fly-away or table-jump is experienced, the Handler should correct the Serama position and retreat outside the judging perimeter.


The Judge will only consider the observations during the 80 seconds and will not consider any other information or prior experience he/she may have knowledge of with that particular Serama.


At the end of the 80 seconds, the scorecard will be handed to the Exhibitor or Handler, who will remove the Serama from the table and deliver the scorecard to the Tabulator for the recording of the score.


In the case of multiple Judges at an event during general first round judging, the show management can decide between two methods. Both methods have advantages, based on the number of entries in each class.


Allow multiple Judges to score the same Serama on the same table. Additional scorecards should be supplied for separate scoring. In this case, Judges SHOULD NOT discuss their scoring during these 80 seconds. The two scorecards should then be averaged by the show Clerk or Tabulator.


Request each Judge score an entire class separately, where the classes will not be split across multiple Judges.


In all methods, the Judge is encouraged to communicate with, and explain to the Clerk during the scoring process how the points were derived. This is designed to help with the training and form the “critical eye” of the clerk if they are in the process of becoming a Licensed Judge.


Tier II and Final Judging:


Show Management should determine the tiers based upon the number of entries. All shows will require a minimum of two tiers to determine champions of each category and then a best of show champion. There can be more than two tiers in cases where number of entries would suggest further granularity in tiers. This is at show management’s discretion.


To prepare for tier judging, tables should be arranged at a distance of at least 10 inches (or25 centimeters) between each table. Each of these tables will have a visible tag with a number (1,2,3,4,5,etc.)


Each Serama will be placed on a SEPARATE TABLE, where 3 to 5 tables are needed. In the case of not enough tables, the tier can be conducted through a process of elimination. The show management is encouraged to have posted a visible erasable board or white sheets of paper on which to write (with a visible marker) the cage numbers/or leg band numbers of the birds needed to be present at the judging area for the next tier.


The clerk will make entries to the Tier Placement Cards with the legband #, table #, and distribute them to the Judge(s). All the Serama in the tier will be set on the separate tables (assigned by the show clerk) at the same time. A timer is then started for the 90-second period for judging. The Judge(s) will have 90 seconds to observe and choose the placement of the birds on the “tier form” previously distributed. In case of multiple Judges, they SHOULD NOT communicate with each other during these 90 seconds.


Judges will consider in their placements both type and character of the Serama during those 90 seconds. If multiple Judges are observing the tier, then the show clerk or Tabulator will calculate the average between the placements.


After the average has been calculated, if two or more birds have the same number of points, then the clerk will request the scorecard from the first round of judging and will start to compare line by line from the top to bottom until the highest score is found. The bird that has a higher score in one category on the scorecard will be considered the winner.


(Rev 11/2016 CB)








Three variations of the Serama are recognized by the Serama Council of North America (SCNA). These include: American Serama, Traditional Serama, and Ayam Serama. Each of these types of Serama can be judged in competition. The type of completion they can enter depends on the type of Serama and the goals of the exhibitor.


American Serama

The American Serama are those recognized by the American Bantam Association (ABA). Only APA/ABA recognized colors of the Serama can compete in in-cage judging and receive APA/ABA points. They must be entered as a color variety at open poultry shows, and are subject to disqualification for white earlobes or non-yellow legs. 

American Serama Standard (click red text to see American Serama standard)


Traditional Serama

The Traditional Serama is one that is not recognized by the APA/ABA. Exhibition of the Traditional Serama excludes all color and minimum weight restrictions, with an increased focus on judging Character and Performance. Recognition of this variety is intended to preserve the characteristics that make a Serama a Serama. This includes the amazing palette of naturally occurring colors and markings found in the Serama. The Traditional Serama is bred to excel in table-top competition.

Traditional Serama Standard (click red text to see Traditional Serama standard) 


Ayam (Malaysian) Serama

The Ayam or Malay(sian) Serama is one that exhibits the extreme physical characteristics so highly sought after and richly rewarded in Malaysia. This is a type of Serama that combines the conformation and personality that exemplify the Serama in Malaysia. It is significantly different enough, that it necessitated a class of its own in table-top competition, and it is in this type of competition where the true Ayam Serama really shines.

Ayam Serama Standard (click red text to see Ayam Serama standard)



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