Don’t be chicken – if you’re mad about animals, and have the space, then why not bid on a pig at the County Show? The Royal Isle of Wight County Show takes place this Sunday, and for the first time ever, there’s the opportunity to buy livestock.

The quickfire auction will hosted by professional auctioneer Charlie Coleman from Frome Livestock Auctioneers. “Try and stand really still, unless you want to buy a sheep”, he recommends. ‘When you’re hosting a serious auction, the slightest wink or movement of a finger can indicate a bid – but this will be more of a fun, relaxed event, to show the general public what a livestock auction is really like.”

There will be 12 lambs up for grabs, and 8 piglets. The sheep will go under the hammer at 3pm; while the pigs will find new homes from 3.20pm. Visitors can guess the prices they’ll go for and the closest will win a prize. Charles Ball, a farmer from the Island, will be selling his pigs at the auction. “Pigs are wonderful things, if greedy!” he says. “They love being free range and their favourite food is Mole Valley pig nuts”.
David Groves, the Show’s Pig Lead, says that pigs have a bad rep, which is very unfair. “They’re such nice animals, and they’ve all got different characters”, he explains. “Some are flighty, others are laid back. And they’re very tidy and clean – they only roll in the mud to keep cool. You’ll be able to meet at least seven different breeds in the Pig Area”.

Meanwhile over in the Poultry Pavilion, you can stock up on chickens – the Show is the biggest seller of birds on the Island. Throughout the Showground, you’ll find traders selling everything from pickles to paintings. Plus you can even pick up a bag of the Household Cavalry’s manure, to give your roses a right royal treat! It will be available to take home, in return for a small donation to the Rural Careers Fund. All profits from the Show will go to the Fund, which supports young agricultural students on the Island.

Don’t be surprised if some of the traders look a little nervous. This will be a big day for many local businesses, as the winners of the Isle of Wight Rural Awards 2019 will be announced at the Show.

Chairman Graham Biss says: “The Show’s all about entertainment – but it’s a big day for rural businesses too. The auction will be a highlight, but please don’t bid on the pigs after a couple of pints in the Village pub! You have to register as a buyer in advance, and there are lots of rules and regulations to protect the livestock. Buy a painting of a pig instead, from the Island Arts Pavilion – it will be much easier to look after!”

• To plan your day, see our timetable – a full programme of events will also be provided in your free souvenir programme which will be given to you at the gate. You can still get tickets in advance for a bargain £9 for adults (free for U16s) but hurry!

PICTURES:
• Charles Ball, an Island farmer, will be selling his pigs at the County Show (glasses & blue jumper).
• The pigs are English Gloucester Old Spot Cross
• David Groves, Pig Lead for the County Show (striped shirt and sleeveless jacket)
• Graham Biss, Chairman of the County Show (turquoise top)
• Charlie Coleman, Auctioneer (white coat)