How long have you been keeping poultry?
I was born on a farm so there has always been poultry, chick hatching and rearing going on. I started breeding pure breeds around 2008/2009.
What got you into poultry?
I always had poultry on the farm. I suppose what got me back into breeding and into showing over the last couple years was my daughter Olivia. She loved the small chicks and it was a great way to teach her to care and respect animals. She now really enjoys the washing and preparation for the shows. She loves taking her Polish Bantams to the shows.
Did you start to show right away?
No, the first show we exhibited at was the Ulster Federation in 2017.
Who got you into showing?
I picked up a trio of White Wyandottes from Desy Horner at the Ballymena Show in 2012 and that sparked my interest in showing. But due to getting married and living in England for two years I only started showing in 2017.
How many breeds have you kept over the years?
I have kept a massive variety of poultry over the years, including a collection of peafowl, turkeys and ornamental waterfowl.
What is your favourite breed and why?
Black Minorca. We’ve had Minorcas here for generations and there is just something about them that always caught my eye.
What is the greatest challenges with this breed?
Timing is key if you want to show Minorcas. There is only a small window to show cock birds so hatching loads at the right time is key.
What is your greatest achievement?
Passing my judging test for Soft Feather Light on the first attempt would have to be my best achievement so far. I’ve never been one for studying and just managed to pass my school exams so to pass this comfortably was a massive achievement.
If you were starting out in poultry is there any advice you would give someone?
Stick to one breed and focus on it. Ask lots of questions from breeders with more experience and listen.
Finally, is there anyone in the poultry world that you admire?
You have to admire those who turn out large teams of birds every week. That is dedication to the hobby. Special word of thanks to Desy Horner who answered paragraphs of questions on Minorcas and has given some fantastic advice and tips.