BBC’s Home Ground film poultry show

Last Saturday saw the return of the Tannaghmore Open Farm’s Poultry Fair at Silverwood, Craigavon, which unfortunately was cancelled last year due to avian flu precautions.

This event celebrated its 23rd year in existence helping pure bred poultry keepers in their drive to maintain their wonderful breeds of poultry and domestic waterfowl.

As we arrived at the venue just before 8am on Saturday a queue had already formed at the entrance and on entering the park a good few stalls had already been set up with a great array of poultry equipment and different breeds of poultry and waterfowl.

This year’s event had the privilege of being filmed for the BBC’s Home Ground rural affairs programme, with the crew given a tour by head ranger Richard McKitterick showing all the excellent work being carried out with rare and minority breeds of farm animals and poultry.

They then moved into the poultry fair where they filmed interviews with keepers and filmed the sights and sounds within the fair.

This was a great opportunity to highlight the work being carried out at Tannaghmore, which earlier this year was awarded Rare Breed Farm status by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, and a glimpse into poultry fairs and the amazingly diverse range of breeds kept by poultry hobbyists who maintain these wonderful yesteryear fowl breeds. The Home Ground programme is scheduled to be aired on Monday, September 3, on BBC 1 at 7.30pm.

Around the fair: Events such as this are greatly looked forward to by the poultry fraternity, with friends getting the chance to meet up for a few hours and exchange birds, stories and light hearted craic.

Last Saturday was no exception with, besides the different bird calls, laughter to be heard within the park. There was a great array of birds and among the wonderful breeds it was brilliant to see the Ko Shamo breed again which, in recent times, has been very scarce. These birds had been brought to the event by Veronica Greenaway from Fermanagh and a pair thankfully went to a local fancier which hopefully will help to maintain this breed in the local area.

Another wonderful discovery was a quad of what is believed to be Overberg ducks that James Smyth from Kilrea brought to the event and again they have gone to another poultry fancier.

The Overberg breed was discussed at length as it is a number of years since they were seen here. Overbergs are basically a Welsh Harlequin with blue dilution. The breed was produced in Holland from North Holland Hook bills, Abacot Rangers and Welsh Harlequins and was originally bred as a utility breed. I learnt from a previous keeper of the breed that they were great layers.

This was a brilliant day at Tannaghmore Open Farm Poultry Fair and the weather stayed good just up until we decided to head home.

It is a great attraction for the area with many families attending and at lunchtime they were enjoying picnics in the park. My thanks to the organisers of this event which helps to protect and promote our wonderful breeds of yesteryear fowl.

Next Saturday the Rare Breed Survival Trust NI support group will be holding its annual show and auction of rare and minority breeds of farm animals and poultry at Gosford Forest Park, Markethill, County Armagh.

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