Marc Ruymbeke, originally from Belgian but a resident in Ireland for the past 20 years, tells CAROLINE FULLERTON about his passion for poultry
How long have you been keeping poultry?
For over 45 years now and joined the Fancy 35 years ago. Before that time I was just keeping backyard chickens. In 1984 I started with a trio of Lavender Anver. Love at first sight and I still keep them.
What got you into poultry?
My grandma had chickens at her place and I was just fascinated by them.
Did you start to show right away?
Not right away. I joined a local poultry club. We met every first Friday of the month and that got me to my first show with Belgians and a Ronquieres stag Turkey.
Who got you into showing?
I was already showing on the continent since I lived in Belgium before moving to Ireland in 2000. Once the decision was made to stay here, I brought over my Belgians and the Brabanconnes. I had gotten a judging appointment in Tinihaly and met some of the exhibitors afterwards and chatting away I was introduced to the Irish world and ways of the Fancy.
Jean Wall invited me to join the Irish Society of Poultry Fanciers, I quickly became a committee member and met Judith Lyons and Patricia Swandel. After a few years Judith and Grams convinced me to show both up North and over the water and since than we travel together to the main shows.
How many breeds have you kept over the years?
I have kept a few breeds over the years. Some only for a couple of years in order to study them and familiarise myself with these breeds. I would like to continue working with my bantam New Hampshire, Dorking and Belgians. I still keep my Brabanconnes but don’t show them. They are a non-standard breed over here.
What is your favourite breed and why?
Has to be the Grubbe. Difficult to say why but they just do it for me. They put a smile on my face. Funny, inquisitive little characters.
What are the greatest challenges with this breed?
Getting the type right. They have to be cobby, short in back and low in legs. Nature does not always agree with these requirements. Rumpless also need to have a broad and well covered back.
What is your greatest achievement?
For myself my greatest achievement is the friendship that the Fancy cements with like-minded breeders. I am very grateful and blessed to have my best friends coming out of this wonderful hobby.
If you were starting out in poultry is there any advice that you could give someone?
Persevere. Ask advice and listen, observe and learn from other breeders. Try to start with birds out of good lines and build from there. Enjoy the hobby. Have fun! Don’t be disappointed if your birds didn’t do that well. It’s only one person’s decision.
Finally is there anyone in the poultry world that you admire?
Every single person that takes on this hobby needs to be admired. It requires time, organisation, dedication and costs money. Every single day the birds have to be looked after and juggling this with the day-to-day tasks can be very demanding. Rewarding but hard work.