JAMES Hammond comes from Loughbrickland where he farms full-time. As well as keeping poultry the family also have an equine enterprise.
How long have you been keeping poultry?
I first started keeping poultry 24 years ago – a few brown hybrids for eggs, however, about 22 years ago I got my first white call ducks from an open farm whilst on holidays and it all started from there. I had no birds for about seven years until 2013 when I re-started the hobby again.
Did you show right away?
No, I was probably 8/9 before I started showing my Calls. I began at the Ulster Poultry Federation, Ballymena Poultry Club and Dromore Waterfowl Show.
Who got you into showing?
A good friend of mine, Merryl Lloyd, had helped me to source a few coloured calls and told me I should start to show.
How many breeds have you kept over the years?
Call ducks is the main breed. I have kept up on 15 different colours. This year I bred Blacks, Chocolates, Blue Black and Lavender Magpies, Chocolate, Blue and Apricot Silvers, Silver Abacot, Butterscotch, Silver Appleyard, Blue Appleyard, Chocolate Mallard and Dark Chocolate Silver. I also keep a few Pekins and Silkie cross bantams for broodies.
What is your favourite breed and why?
Call ducks have always been my priority. Even for the few years I had no birds I loved looking at Calls around various shows and sales. With the noisy characteristics you couldn’t not like them.
What are the greatest challenges with this breed?
Probably getting them hatched is the biggest challenge with the breed although this year I hatched 230 Calls; followed by getting them true to type and correctly marked.
What is your greatest achievement?
Winning the 2017 Black Magpie ducklet class at the British Call Duck Club show from a class of 22. Also best call duck and Champion Juvenile with a Butterscotch female of Lucys at Ballymena Agricultural Show 2018.
If you were starting out in poultry is there any advice that you could give to someone?
Always take advice, listen and learn from some of the older breeders involved in your particular breed. Never take show results personally; someone’s opinion on the day could be totally different next week.
Finally, is there anyone in the poultry world that you admire?
I have to say I admire the work of Mr Alan Davies for The British Call Duck Club that he has done over the years. He tirelessly organises regional shows throughout the country and the stand alone club show every year which for anyone interested in Calls is a must see – last year marked the 20th anniversary of the club; with some 1200 entries all of one breed in a hall they made a lot of noise.
Thank you James for your time. James has after a very successful breeding season a variety of different coloured Calls, both 2018 and some of his own breeders, for sale as he has decided to reduce the number of colours to eight colours.
James Hammond 07729 636440.