LAST Saturday was the annual Rare Breed Survival Trust’s NI Support Group’s show and auction at Gosford Forest Park, Markethill, County Armagh.
Arriving at the Poultry Marquee on the Saturday morning a large crowd had assembled prior to the auction with a queue had formed to obtain bidder numbers. We got a look around the poultry entries before the auction started.
The Rare Breed section had a great range of breeds which included standard red saddled Yokohamas, a number of pairs of Silver Campines, Freisian fowl, to mention just some of the breeds. The best Rare Breed entry was a lovely trio of Silver Kraienkoppe bantam pullets exhibited by Gareth Topping from Portadown.
There were a great range of breeds of large and bantam soft feather with great pens of leghorns, Minorcas and Silkies, which included pairs of the very rare red variety.
Among the large heavy breeds were exceptional Orpingtons, Wyandottes, Cochins, Faverolles and Sussex pens and it was to a pair of Buff Orpington pullets exhibited by Andrew Kerr of Clogher Valley Eggs and Poultry that took the Reserve Champion prize.
Hard Feather breeds appeared in many shapes and sizes from the mighty Shamo to the unusual Ko Shamo and the elegant Modern Game.
True bantams were out in abundance with pens of birds from some of the top breeders who had entered pens of Dutch, Pekins, Japanese and Belgian bantams.
The Waterfowl section had a great variety of quality birds with a number of colours of Call ducks with a superb pair of white Calls.
Indian Runners were out in force with excellent Silver, Trout, Chocolate, Silver Appleyard and white pens.
Among the many duck breeds was a fantastic pair of Bali ducks exhibited in superb condition. Among the other varieties there were a number of pens of the best laying breeds namely the Campbell ducks and Welsh Harlequins and it was to a pair of young Welsh Harlequin ducks that the best waterfowl award was given along with the prestigious Show Champion prize. This pair of birds was exhibited by Ryan Bonner from Gatehouse Poultry Omagh.
Finally, there was a great selection of miniature ducks and ornamental ducks.
Shortly after 11am the auction got underway with Ian Donald the auctioneer rapidly going through the poultry lots with keen bidding around the marquee and most lots selling. Top price was £210 for the reserve champion Orpingtons and two lots of ducks achieved £100. Overall the prices reflected the hard work, feed prices and selective breeding of rare and minority breeds of fowl.
This was a great day out for the poultry fraternity with many having travelled big distances to support our wonderful hobby helping to preserve these wonderful breeds. Great thanks should be given to the judges Gordon Walker and Judith Lyons, Scarva Auctions and the organizers Pauline Gibson, Patricia Swandel, Andrew Bingham, Mervyn Elliott and their team of helpers.