Today we went to our first ever poultry market.
I am delighted to announce that egg sales are going well on my honesty table! Some days I am selling 1.5 doz eggs – I am not going to be rich, but as I keep telling the dogs…. the hens are now paying for their weekly feed bill!
We have 13 hens – averaging out at about 9 or 10 eggs a day – and one rather magnificent Austrolorp Rooster who definitely rules the roost.
We got our first hens about 3 years ago, just regular old hybrids. Last year we bought some Austrolorps and one Light Sussex. And we also got a present of some Cuckoo Marans.
I had heard many times that the poultry market in Portlaoise on a Sunday was a good place to go to get the biggest variety of birds. The market isn’t held every week, but I had been forewarned that there would be a market today, so it’s been in the calendar for weeks.
So rather than a lazy Sunday lie-in, it was up early, feed the various mouths that need feeding and get on the road.
First thing we were surprised by was that there was a charge to attend. I know, I know, it was only €3.00 per person…. but…. do the organisers not think about this? Charging into shows where people are expected to buy has always been a bugbear … in our past life we did so many shows. If you charge people in you diminish their spending power once they are inside! Simple! I know money has to be made, but I am sure the traders had to pay for their spot.
Second point, some of the birds to our ‘untrained’ eye did not look at all healthy.
And worst of all, the market was not just confined to poultry.
There were folks there selling goats, rabbits, ferrets and dogs – and this is where it got to me. There was one poor Beagle cross there that looked so unhappy, unkempt and was holding one paw awkwardly.
Do RSPCA inspectors not attend these fairs?
I am not suggesting that all traders were rogues, but I just felt some of the birds and animals I saw had not been treated the best.
We did meet a nice lady from West Limerick and bought four Rhode Island Reds who are now settling in nicely.
We still need to get some ‘table’ birds and some ducks so would love to hear of other poultry markets. Do you know of any?