Last night a group of us from County Armagh, having boxed up our entries, travelled down to the Royal Ulster Agricultural showgrounds at Balmoral Park, Maze, Lisburn.
When we arrived at the Poultry Marquee it was a hive of activity as exhibitors from across the country had descended upon Balmoral Park to place their poultry, domestic Waterfowl and egg exhibits in their respect show cages and plates.
Besides the fun of exhibiting your birds, it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends and acquaintances from across the country and, although a year may have passed since the last time you seen them, a common bond exists and conversation soon flows to the hatching season so far, or the birds you are exhibiting.
Local keepers I’ve found are extremely helpful, from the exchange of birds to keep a particular breed going, to helping to hatch eggs, and it is great to attend an event where in the main the poultry keepers have the same aim – to keep these old breeds alive while striving to improve the standard of the birds kept.
And, of course, a bit of competition is good for that drives poultry keepers to work hard to improve the standard of the many breeds.
Looking around the hall it was clear that many of the breeds where definitely being produced to a very high standard with quality birds abounding.
I was especially taken by the large light Sussex as I entered the hall. To the right of the entrance was a superb number of Pekin bantams – I was especially drawn to the blues which were superb.
The Orpington classes were absolutely marvellous with quality Black and Buff birds with one outstanding huge Buff Orpington cockerel which filled the cage. The owner, Andrew Kerr, was on hand with some light hearted banter about what this bird had been fed on.
Across at the Waterfowl section, there was a great array of different breeds that I discussed at length with Robert McKibbin.
This will be a very hard section to judge with so many quality birds. The hard feather section has a great range of breeds from Large Carlisles, hefty Indian Game, sprightly Old English Game bantams, superb Ko Shamos and fantastic Modern Game. This will also be a great challenge for the judges.
Good luck to all the exhibitors at this wonderful venue with so many of them travelling great distances to support this annual event.
The organisers should be applauded for without their great endeavours this show and similar events would never happen.
Lurgan agricultural show
The wonderful Lurgan agricultural show is held within the picturesque Lurgan Park amidst mature trees and Lurgan lake – man-made to give work during the famine – and is a great show to attend.
This event is held on Saturday, June 1. As a one day show it is a fantastic venue to attend to exhibit your poultry with a large number of classes available.
Entries for this show close this Saturday so why not go online and get a schedule to enter your birds and add to the experience of attending an agricultural show.