THE COTSWOLD QUILL
of the Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club
Issue 46 Merry Christmas December
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Christmas and Happy New Year!
Big Red Rooster Cockerel
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
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 www.bigredrooster.org.uk
, please have a look and meet the boys and find out a bit more about the work we do. Thank you for reading!
Editorial Deadline for next issue
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pastry for Mince Pies
8oz Self Raising
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.
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.
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.
Kevin Brown with his Old English Bantam cock.
Judged by Simon Harvey.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Click here to view Exhibitions and meetings information page.
Club Diary Dates
Wednesday 11th January
A talk by Ken Cservenka
Wednesday 8th February
A talk on Peafowl
with live props.
E D Godwin.
Annual Members Show
Cricklade Town Hall
Wednesday 12th April
Focus” Sussex, Andalusians, Orpington and Magpie Ducks with live props.
The committee 2016-2017
Chairman and Exhibition Secretary John Smith
Show Secretary and Editor Cotswold Quill Ken Cservenka
Junior Committee: Daniel Marchese
Copper Blue, Copper Black French Marans:
Japanese: Various colours
Margaret Saunders: 01793
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.
for two, unsexed
£65 for four, unsexed
From the President’s Perch
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.