UL Video series: Meet the Offaly man with a world beating hen-sational tale

The context

From as far back as fowl fanatic John Dolan can remember, the Banagher, Co. Offaly native has dreamed of producing one of the greatest chickens the world has ever seen.

Arriving late to school each morning of his youth as a result of being engrossed in feeding his chickens, John was never going to stray too far from the nest.

In 2014, the passionate poultry man's dreams became a reality when red mottled leghorn Marmalade came into his life and rewrote the record book for what is expected of hens.

According to Dolan, 85 percent of hens do not have eggs and regular fowl produce just twice a year.

John's extraordinary hen hatched five times a year for two years and three times over a 12-month period prior to that, which he claims to be a world record.

The super hen's achievements saw her honoured by leading the Banagher St. Patrick's Day parade as the Grand Marshal in 2018, where she capped off the night by having a sip of the black stuff in Corrigans' Corner House alongside her owner.

Producing over 180 chicks in four and a half years, Marmalade, looked destined for a place in the Guinness Book of World Records but unfortunately she died in February 2019 before she could be officially acknowledged as a record-setter.

Mark Boylan caught up with John Dolan to discuss life after Marmalade and what brought the prolific producer to the top of the world poultry pecking order.

The video

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