Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club


The Newsletter of the Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club

Issue 46                                                        Merry Christmas                                        December 2016


Chairman’s Chatter

Welcome to the December 2016 edition of the Cotswold Quill.  I can’t believe that yet another year has been and gone.  They say that time passes quicker as you get older!

As we are gearing up for Christmas, I am astonished by the non-Christmas weather.  After a few days of freezing temperatures, day and night, it has changed overnight to incredibly mild temperatures for the time of year.  A few days ago, we had two cars upside down in separate accidents on the ice on Clay Street hill, here in Little Somerford, I was battling with frozen water pipes, and I put old blankets over the houses of some of the bantams as I was worried about them.  Now, I am writing this in my office in the garden with the door open for the fresh air and the heating has been turned off again.  Daytime temperatures have gone from -2 to +13 over a couple of days, with night-time temperatures not much lower.  Bizarre, to say the least.  It is bound to confuse the birds and plants.

I hope you all enjoy the festivities.  I personally find Christmas very stressful.  Not because of the expense or getting everything done that you want to, but because it reminds me that there is only another month to go until the 31 January tax return deadline and I have lots of accounts and returns left to complete!  It’s very unfair on accountants who mostly take their holidays in February when the pressure is off.  I even got married in January 2000 and went back to work on the Monday after, with the honeymoon in the February.  I’m sure that you will all have the opportunity to relax and have a good time.

I expect that you have heard that the virulent H5N8 strain of the Avian Influenza virus has recently been detected in several European countries, with evidence that the virus is circulating in the wild bird population.  The virus has yet to be detected in Britain but extreme vigilance needs to be taken (and no doubt a lot of fingers crossed) now that the virus has reached the other side of the English Channel. 

A 30-day housing order was made on 6 December 2016, to protect all poultry and captive birds from the risk of infection from wild birds.  The zone covers the whole of England and requires the immediate and compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys and ducks, or where this is not practical, their complete separation from contact with wild birds.  Please be careful with your bio-security and try to keep your birds away from the wild ones.  Please refer to the club website for updates and a link to the DEFRA site.

The Committee have once again organised some very entertaining meetings since the last edition of the Quill. 

In September, we were treated to a very interesting talk on rare breeds by the very enthusiastic Philippe Wilson of the Rare Poultry Society, ably assisted by his glamorous assistant Paco Delgado.  Philippe discussed a selection of rare breed poultry that the club members brought in and there was also a photo competition to see how many of the rare breeds we could identify.  Thanks once again to Philippe and Paco and all the club members who brought birds along.

The October meeting was the AGM which provided a lively discussion giving the committee a few ideas for future events.  My son William stood down from the committee as he has too much schoolwork at present with exams coming up.  Harriet Caudrey also stood down as she moved to Devon, which is slightly too far to attend meetings.  The other retirement from the committee was John Marfleet who has too many other commitments at present.  Many thanks for the sterling work of all of these, but particular thanks to John for his work on the committee for many years.  We welcome Richard Burford as a new committee member.

We also had a photographic competition at the AGM won by Sandy Vaughan with the photo now on the club website.  Congratulations to Sandy.  The competition was well received and will hopefully be repeated next year. The November meeting was the Club Box Show, ably judged by Simon Harvey, which went well with some beautiful birds entered.  The results are mentioned later in the newsletter.

I am really looking forward to the December meeting which will be a talk and slideshow by Andrew Bluett  of The Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group.  It should be interesting.

Once again, we have an excellent series of meetings and Exhibitions lined up for next year, having been invited back to most of last year’s exhibitions already.  Please refer to our website that is updated regularly with a full list of events, and an update on the Avian Influenza situation.

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

John Smith. Chairman and Exhibition Secretary.


Editorial Ramblings

Seasons Greetings! Here we go again, the run up to Christmas and the threat of bird flu looming the other side of the channel. Of course the wild birds are getting the blame. It is probably due to a lack of bio-security in poultry markets in some areas of the Far East where wild birds have then become infected. Let’s hope that any carriers don’t make it to our shores.

I have recently been to a talk by one of the ground support team that followed the migration of the Bewick Swans from Siberia to Slimbridge. One of the team flew the route using just a paramotor. Rather her than me!

I have heard that at least 4,000 Waxwings have made it to the East Coast, so we may see them locally before the winter has finished. A good place to see them is supermarket car parks as they usually have a lot of berry bearing shrubs.

With this issue is the schedule and entry form for the Annual Members Show on Sunday March 5th. Please help me out by getting your entries to me before the cut-off date.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Big Red Rooster Cockerel Rescue

I've been a member of the Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club for about 18 months now and I've really enjoyed being a part of the club. I especially enjoy the showing aspect of keeping chickens, and have managed to have a few successes at the various Club shows. The birds I show are extra special in my eyes because they're all rescued birds, so I thought I'd introduce myself properly and explain a bit about them.

I had been keeping a few chickens of my own for about 5 years and was occasionally asked by people if I could take in the odd cockerel. I had a bit of a reputation as being a soft touch when it came to unwanted animals, I currently have 2 dogs and 5 cats, all bar one are rescued! It quickly became apparent that there were an awful lot of cockerels that needed to find homes and very quickly I had built up quite a collection. There were some sad cases, like Ricky, a little Poland cross who was stuffed in a carrier bag and thrown over a garden wall, and Valentine and Mr. Grey, two nervous brothers dumped in a field.

I decided to set up as a not-for-profit organization in 2014 to make things official and enable me to try to raise funds in order to expand and help as many boys as possible. We currently have around 10 residents, mostly cockerels but a few hens too. It's a nice treat to have the occasional boy who is good enough to show, it helps raise our profile and if they're good enough I believe they deserve to show everyone how handsome they are !

I get asked all the time how I feel about culling and I always say the same...if anyone is going to hatch then they have to be prepared to deal with the boys that WILL hatch, I don't object to them being used for the pot, it's the heartless dumping of them I can't stand.

We have a Facebook page and a website , please have a look and meet the boys and find out a bit more about the work we do. Thank you for reading!

Helen Cooper

 The Cotswold Pheasant & Poultry Club


Editorial Deadline for next issue

Saturday February 25th  2017

(01285) 656480


A Guide to keeping Fantail Doves

The Fantail Dove is a popular breed of fancy pigeon. It is characterised by a fan shaped tail composed of 30 to 40 feathers, abnormally more than most members of the pigeon family, which usually have 12 to14 tail feathers.

The breed is thought to have originated in India, China or Spain. There are several sub-varieties, such as the Garden Fantail, the English Fantail, the Indian Fantail and the Thai Fantail.

Fantails are often used by pigeon flyers in the training of racing and tippler pigeons. They are used as droppers in that they are placed on the loft landing board as a signal to the flying birds to come in and be fed.

Think of a dovecote and you may visualise a scene of peace and Tranquillity, but look further and you will discover a complex hierarchical society, where doves compete with each other in order to secure the sunniest position. If the cock doves aren’t strutting their stuff, chest out, bowing, spinning and cooing at the hen doves, they may well be gathering nesting material for their partners who have been sitting patiently on two shiny white eggs. Usually mid-morning is when the hen gets time off and the cock takes over, then by mid afternoon she will be back, fed and watered ready to continue the 18 – 21 day sitting period before the eggs hatch.

The new baby doves are called squabs, they are born naked but within a week they grow fine yellow hair, and grow feathers after three or four weeks. Doves reach sexual maturity by about five or six months.

Dove keeping is a very interesting and enjoyable hobby, with the dove and pigeon keepers known as fanciers, with whom you can interact as much or as little as you like. It will not be long before your doves will fly to greet you at feeding time. You can train them to a whistle like a dog at feeding time and they will fly to you straight away. You will get to know your doves, most by personality or name.

One thing to consider when buying doves is that they breed readily. In fact during the warmer months, breeding females can lay two eggs every seven weeks or so. To avoid overstocking some form of control is necessary, such as replacing their eggs with a plastic substitute, as this causes less stress when removing their eggs. Close monitoring of your breeding pairs is important at this point. When you know they have laid, simply place your hand, palm side down under the bird, lift it slightly and exchange the real egg for the plastic one. The bird may flap its wings and even peck your hand, but don’t worry it’s not painful. Once the normal 18-21 day incubation period has passed the birds will realise the eggs are not going to hatch and will abandon them.

Always keep clean fresh water available at all times. I feed my doves on Bamfords young bird food, pigeon conditioner, mixed poultry corn and brown bread, they also love fresh salad leaves.

Some fanciers keep their doves in a dovecote but I prefer my doves in a loft as I find them easier to manage and train. When you get your new doves home, you should keep them confined for at least two weeks, but make sure they can see outside to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings. In a dovecote you can use chicken wire to confine them but in a loft they can see outside anyway. Some fanciers adapt garden sheds to keep their doves in.

Steve Jesic.

Seasonal Recipe

Pastry for Mince Pies


8oz Self Raising Flour

5oz Margarine (Stork) straight from fridge.

1oz Caster Sugar

1 small or bantam egg.


Using a food processor mix the ingredients.

Place mix into clingfilm and leave it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.

Roll out small bits at a time on plenty of flour. Use a pastry cutter to fit your tin. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into the pie and cover with a lid cut with a star shaped cutter.

Bake for 15 minutes (Aga) or until lightly browned. Dredge with caster or icing sugar.

Margaret Gardner.

Show Report

The November meeting was the annual Knock out of Birds Competition or Box Show.


A Black East Indian drake placed in the left pan was put up against another Black East Indian drake placed in the right pen. The bird in the left pen prevailed and went on to defeat a Silver Appleyard and yet another Black East Indian. The winner of the waterfowl class was Charlotte Carnegie.

Large Fowl and Bantam

A Black Pekin cock and a Large Crème Legbar pullet started proceedings with the Black Pekin edging ahead. The Black Pekin defeated a Silver Sebright pullet before being displaced by a Carlisle Old English Game bantam cock. The OEG then defeated all-comers including a Black-tailed White Japanese Bantam cock, Sumatra Game female, Orloff Bantam male, Serama Bantam female, Asil male and a Ko-shamo female. The winning bird in this class was Kevin Brown’s Old English Bantam cock.


There was only one entry in the junior section, a Mallard Call Duck belonging to Oliver Crump.

The overall winner

Kevin Brown with his Old English Bantam cock.

Judged by Simon Harvey.

Seasonal Reminder

With the dark nights upon us remember that Reynard the fox will be on the prowl earlier than usual, so do remember to shut your birds in their houses over night. Foxes are very active at this time of the year as it is coming up to their breeding season. Also, this years cubs will be seeking a territory for themselves.

Rare Breeds

For our September meeting, Philippe Wilson of the Rare Poultry Society came to the club to talk about rare and endangered breeds of poultry.

The Rare Poultry Society exists to look after all the breeds that don’t have a dedicated breed club.


The Sumatra should have black plumage with a green sheen and a black or red face. They have a long body and the large fowl can be multi-spurred with long flowing tail feathers that shouldn’t quite touch the floor. The face of the female should be crow like. Comb pea shaped and large bright eyes.


A hardy breed from the border area of the Netherlands and Germany. White shaft on the feathers and silver neck and saddle hackles. Legs yellow and a walnut comb. The golden variety has reddish gold to replace the silver.

Transylvanian Naked Neck

Originated in eastern Hungary, which is now Romania. Large comb and wattles and a neck completely free of feathers. Strong, stout legs with round shanks. Comes in black, white, cuckoo, buff, red and blue.

Groninger Meeuwe

 Typical European light breed that can be large or bantam, they have black and white plumage with each feather having six black spots. Large fanned tails, white ear lobes and clean slate grey legs. Male has white wing bar.


Hard feather true bantam that can be any game colour pattern and originates from Japan. Carriage upright with a strong slightly curved neck.



One of the long tailed breeds originating from the Far East, in this instance Japan. Can be single, pea or walnut comb but most points are awarded for the length andquality of the tail.


Heavy utility breed originating in Austria.

Male colour Black-Red as in Oxford old English game with the female being wheaten. They have a small crest and white ear lobes. Male has a straight comb and the female’s is S shaped.


A true bantam originating from Asia, it is thought to be the first bantam to be introduced to Britain.

The male has rich orange neck and saddle hackles, black main tail feathers, with the remainder of the plumage ginger buff. The female is ginger buff with black on the ends of the main tail feathers.

Single and rose combed varieties exist.


The Fayoumi is a light breed originating from Egypt. The plumage is black and white pencilled with white neck hackles, a single comb and  red ear lobes.


Light breed from Belgium can be silver or gold with rings of black barring around the body. Male has upright single comb, while the female has a comb that falls to one side. The ear lobes are white.


A light breed from Turkey that only comes in white plumage. Features include beard, muffling, vulture hocks, crest, five toes and white legs.


Another upright hard feathered breed originating from Japan that comes in a variety of sparse feathered colour patterns. The carriage is very upright and the lobster tail should point downwards. They have split wings that are considered a fault in most other breeds.

Exhibition Dates

 Click here to view Exhibitions and meetings information page.

Club Diary Dates

Wednesday 11th January

Exmoor Wildlife. 
A talk by Ken Cservenka

Wednesday 8th February

A talk on Peafowl with live props.

E D Godwin.


Sunday 5th March

Annual Members Show

Cricklade Town Hall


Wednesday 12th April

“Breed Focus” Sussex, Andalusians, Orpington and Magpie Ducks with live props.

Terry Hannan


The committee 2016-2017

President                       Neil Harvey

Chairman and Exhibition Secretary     John Smith

Treasurer                        Kathleen Harrison

Secretary                      Margaret Gardner

Show Secretary and Editor Cotswold Quill    Ken Cservenka

Trophy Steward            Charlie Berry

Committee                   Margaret Saunders

                                        Sandy Lee

                                        Richard Burford

Junior Committee:       Daniel Marchese



For Sale


Large Fowl

Copper Blue, Copper Black French Marans:

Black Brahmas

Blue Orpington






Japanese: Various colours

Call Ducks

Margaret Saunders: 01793 770362

Nankin pairs

Ken Cservenka

Tel: 01285 654640 or 07922 113405

Light Sussex bantams – point of lay – hatched Summer 2015

Plymouth Rock bantams (Buff) – point of lay – hatched Summer 2015. Both Excellent stock

Tel: Jan Palejowski home 01993 831083

Mobile 07808 719877

White Fantail Doves

£20 each, unsexed.

£35 for two, unsexed

£65 for four, unsexed

Steve Jesic

Tel: 07904 861527


From the President’s Perch

 Here we are getting ready for Christmas and if you are awaiting the big dinner with one of your own birds I hope it lives up to your expectations and has your jowls drooling. I know it may seem to be hard hearted to think this way on a bird that you have reared from the start to the finish but that is what it is all about. If we did not have these birds with all the breeds that we have to-day bred by our ancestors we would only have jungle fowl running around the Far East. It was their needs to have food that has evolved our chicken into what they are to-day and to think that chicken is the most eaten meat in the World and keeps many people from starving. Many thanks to all those people that have improved the breeds from that humble wild bird into what we have to-day. I am sure that in the future we will have more developments from more pioneering breeders and you may be just one of those people. May we just thank our lucky stars that we have Gallus Gallus.

On a more serious note is the new threat this winter of an outbreak of Bird Flu in this country. The way experts are talking it is not how but when it reaches our shores, it is very near impossible to get all the poultry (including ducks) in this country under cover and to exclude all wild birds from getting in contact with any of them. I hope that your actions can be effective and not to costly to implement and we CAN keep it at bay.

 Now on a much happier note may I wish you all “A Very Happy Christmas and A Prosperous New Year” and your expectations for this coming season are exceeded all round.


The views expressed in this Newsletter by individual contributors are not necessarily those of the club committee.