Gosford Poultry Fair, held within the picturesque setting of Gosford Forest Park, Markethill, County Armagh, is one of the most popular poultry sales across the country. It is held on the third Saturday of March and September every year.
Last Saturday was the largest poultry fair of the season at Gosford with over 1,500 people passing through the gates.
This was an incredible turnout of poultry keepers from across the country who between them brought a huge selection of poultry and waterfowl to this event.
From early morning a queue formed outside Gosford and by mid morning there was a hive of activity within the selling field, which consisted of sellers with three or for pens of birds to the bigger producers of purebred poultry who had numerous pens of different breeds under gazebos.
What added significantly to the day was the glorious weather which brought out so many to have a lovely day at Gosford. Trade was brisk during the early part of the day. Quality birds and the more unusual breeds or colours were much sought after.
Looking around the fair I noticed a lot of Japanese bantams in a number of colours, birds that you would only see in very small numbers at poultry shows. Maybe this is an indication that the wonderful Japanese bantam will appear in bigger numbers at future poultry shows. The very rare pure bred Aylesbury duck also appeared in good numbers, which is great for the breed which is having a much needed revival here.
One very long-standing poultry keeper remarked that he hadn’t seen as many large Orpingtons at a poultry fair. This was certainly true with a great array of quality Orpingtons available from different parts of the country.
It was great to play catch up with the large Modern Game guru Adam Davis from County Armagh, whose dedication to the large Modern Game fowl is incredible.
With selective breeding over a few years now, he has got the standard of large Modern Game to a superb level and was able to offer others breeding stock of a high level – readily admitting that these birds would have been retained for his show team just a couple of years ago. This shows just how dedication to a breed pays off.
Mervyn Mooney, from County Down, had brought superb Belgian Barbu d’Anvers and German Langshan bantams along to the fair and when I called with him his great birds had drawn a big crowd.
Even rare breeds were well represented in the park with a number of folk having Lakenvelders in both black and blue in both large and bantam varieties.
Tannaghmore Open Farm had brought along young Silver Grey Dorkings, which are not a rare breed but are in very few hands, and along with their other minority and rare breeds of fowl are making a great difference in the preservation of these old breeds.
Organiser Wilbert Fosythe, of Tully Farms, was very busy at his marquee offering his delicious gourmet burgers, refreshments, meat products and a place to relax.
Thanks to Wilbert and his team for another successful poultry fair at Gosford Forest Park – it was a great day out, full of fun and craic.
n The next poultry fair at Gosford is planned for the third Saturday in March, (21).