The week leading up to the annual end of summer Poultry Fair at Gosford Forest Park, Markethill, was spent checking the weather forecast as, like all outdoor events, the fair is so much better in the dry.
Saturday’s forecast was, indeed, for dry weather in the morning and that’s exactly what we awoke. We hurriedly packed up the van for the short journey to Gosford with feelings of excitement and trepidation.
We arrived at about 8.30am, which in poultry fair times is late, to find organiser Wilbert Forsythe greeting everyone on their arrival and directing them to the display field. There were a good number of poultry keepers lining the drive through the field, from the very modest with a handful of birds to the serious breeder with a vast array of breeds in pens under a gazebo. We were able to get a pitch towards the bottom of the field and as soon as we pulled up started receiving inquiries as to what birds we had on board.
Business was brisk and within two hours all that was left were four cockerels. This gave us a chance to look around the many displays of birds and stalls. There was a vast selection of poultry available, from the diminutive Japanese bantams to the mighty Cochins.
Like ourselves, demand for a lot of these birds was great and many had moved on most of the stock they had brought to the event. This was great news for the poultry keepers who keep birds purely as a hobby and in so doing preserving our vast array of native breeds.
The standard of many of the birds was quite incredible with poultry keepers travelling from all parts of the country to be at this event.
Trevor Gardiner, from Waringstown, had brought along some of his Modern Game bantams and incredible birds they were too.
Ryan McLaren and Christopher Corrigan had brought along excellent stock with quality Indian Game, Light Sussex and Magpie ducks to name but a few of their wonderful breeds.
The final surprise of the day was an enormous cuckoo Cochin cockerel that had been brought to the fair by Geoff and Willy Weir. This was an absolutely enormous bird in great condition. The Cochin breed are only kept by the dedicated few and hopefully the sight of this bird will encourage others to keep them.
We then enjoyed a well deserved break by making our way to the Tully Farm stand to enjoy its wonderful Dexter burgers.
My thanks to Wilbert Forsythe from Tully Farm, Ballymoney, for the great effort and time he puts into running this poultry fair and the poultry fair in March, which are so essential to local pure bred poultry keepers.