THIS week I spoke to Alan Forbes from Castlederg in County Tyrone, who is well known across the pure bred hobby for his quality tiny Serama Bantams and other bantam breeds.
I have known Alan for a few years and Alan and his daughter Alisha have regularly shown at poultry events up until they were cancelled, firstly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then avian flu restrictions, but like so many other poultry keepers he is so looking forward to taking his birds out to shows again.
Alan encourages others to keep birds and regularly supplies hatching eggs and birds to others. I wish Alan a great hatching year and hope soon to catch up with him at a poultry event.
Alan gives a great account of his passion for pure bred poultry:
I have been keeping poultry for many years, from I was a young age. I grew up on my grandad’s farm and there was never any shortage of poultry, geese or turkeys.
I only began to show in the past five years or so. Growing up, the poultry were just farm hens, nothing ever to fancy.
I got into showing about four to five years ago. My wife’s grandad Thomas Gibson took me one day with him to his local agriculture show in Ballyshannon and from there I was hooked. (Hence how we got the name GF Poultry from the initial of both our surnames).
I haven’t looked back since and even with the effects of Covid-19 and the avian flu I have always remained focused on breeding the best I possibly can.
Over the years I have kept six or seven different breeds, from Seramas to Pekins, Rosecombs to Old English Game and a few others along the way, including Japanese, Poland and Sebrights.
Seramas are most definitely my favourite breed. I started out showing with them and my passion for them has never changed. They are a tremendous bird and come in a variety of colours so you never really know what colour you might get in their chicks. Getting the right type in Seramas can be difficult but it’s something I am working on each year and trying to get them bred as close to breed standard as possible.
My greatest achievement to date is probably from Omagh Show a few years back, winning first with a Serama cock bird, at this stage I hadn’t been long showing birds. I was delighted with a large class at the time.
Since I have won various prizes and placings, from Balmoral to agriculture shows as far as Roscommon.
If starting out in poultry I’d advise the person to source a good breeder in the breed they admire most. Once you get talking with a good breeder who has a world of knowledge you learn so much which is helpful along the way.
n I can be contacted on Facebook page GF Poultry and hatching eggs and stock are available in season.
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