Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club

THE COTSWOLD QUILL

The Newsletter of the Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club

Issue 57  -  December 2020                       

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


Chairman’s Chatter

Welcome to the December 2020 edition of the Cotswold Quill.
Well, what a year it has been! We were extremely lucky to hold the Club Members Show at the beginning of March, just before the lockdown, particularly after previous cancellations due to Bird Flu and bad weather. Since then – Nothing! All meetings and exhibitions cancelled! We could have held one or two back in the summer but numbers would have been restricted severely and there were too many hoops to go through, so we thought it best, for everyone’s safety, not to hold any meetings.
Hopefully, we can rearrange bookings for a later date, such as Karen Elliott’s talk on egg showing, and Paul Morgan’s talk on the Spanish Fowl and the work of the new breeder group set up to promote this rare breed   (www.ukspanishbreeders.co.uk.).
It is amazing to see the change in attitudes towards Coronavirus. In the first lockdown most people stayed at home and the roads were empty. I have to drive a few miles to feed my poultry each day and I felt guilty about being outside, even though I had a justifiable reason. Apart from a few cars, the only other road users were traffic hazards commonly known as MAMILS (middle aged men in Lycra) out on their bikes. Things then settled down for a while and several poultry markets reopened, meaning that we could at last see our poultry friends, of course wearing masks and social distancing. Problems began when the pubs reopened and people just couldn’t resist them. There was very little chance of the virus not spreading again in packed bars and clubs. The Government brought in the tier system to try to control this but unfortunately the left wing Mayors of the northern cities wanted too much compensation for their restrictions. This forced the Government to lock down the whole country again for a month. Unfortunately, lockdown 2 coincided with poultry sales such as Bridgwater and the first Ross sale since March, which had to be cancelled. As a non-pub-goer, I was not best pleased that my only days out were curtailed because of drinkers at the other end of the country! Lockdown 2 has been totally different. You would not even know that it was in place by the number of cars on the road. Thankfully, there are not so many MAMILS!
I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed our exhibitions at the Country Shows until we couldn’t attend them. I have missed the company of the club members and chatting to those visiting our marquee, many of whom we have the pleasure of seeing every year. Looking at the schedule, our last Exhibition was the Ploughing Match in September 2019 and our next one, at the earliest, is the Cotswold Show in July 2021, if the restrictions are eased by then. However, I suspect it will be years before we return to pre-Covid days, if at all. No doubt there will be one-way systems, masks and hand sanitisers everywhere! The lack of shows has meant a huge reduction in our income this year as our accounts will show.
We are required by the Club constitution to hold an Annual General Meeting, where we receive accounts and reports from the club officials, fill any committee vacancies, fix the membership fees, and decide on any resolutions put forward to the meeting. We considered an on-line meeting but the constitution allows us to postpone the AGM, where we are prevented to hold it by an act of force majeure, as long as it is held as soon as reasonably convenient and with reasonable prior notice to Members. We will let you know when the meeting is to be held in due course but, in the meantime, the current club officers will continue and the membership fee is held as last year. Thank you to those who have renewed their membership already. Hopefully, the rest of you can renew by on-line banking with the details shown elsewhere is this newsletter or on the club website. If you don’t have access to online banking then a cheque in the post to Kath would be greatly appreciated.
Just when we thought things were bad, Bird Flu is now back with us. Migratory birds have introduced it to several parts of the country, including the South-West, but thankfully there have not been too many cases in poultry (yet!). One or two poultry units have had culls but most cases in captive birds seem to be in non-commercial units. The commercial boys have learnt that stringent bio-security controls are a necessity. We must learn from this ourselves and be on our guard at all times. APHA have been very good with their updates and I recommend that you register your birds with them.
As I mentioned above, Paul Morgan is heading up a breeder group for Spanish Fowl and part of the work involves setting up a register whereby the pedigrees of birds are recorded, similar to a herd book for pedigree cattle. Once set up and the birds registered, as long as the owners are members of the appropriate breed society (The Rare Poultry Society in this case), there is a chance that the birds can be saved from culls caused by Bird Flu. My question is, if captive birds have to be culled where there are cases of Bird Flu in order to stop the spread of the virus, why are there no reports of a mass cull of captive (not migratory) waterfowl at Slimbridge Wetland Centre where highly pathogenic Bird Flu has occurred in their captive birds? Is this not a double standard? If poultry keepers have to go to such lengths to try save rare breeds of fowl, how can Slimbridge get away without a cull? Answers on a postcard to the Editor!
I have made enquiries and have learnt that WWT Slimbridge acted immediately and called in Defra APHA and birds in the collection were indeed culled. They have now been given the all clear and the centre has now re-opened. Visitors have to book to go there now, rather than just turn up. Ed
I have been working from home throughout the epidemic as usual, unfortunately without any Government aid, although seeing clients with their accounts and tax returns has been very difficult. Zoom online meetings are not the same and you don’t get tea and biscuits! However, I have learnt several things lately, such as:
• We have to be very grateful for venetian blinds because, without venetian blinds, it would be curtains for all of us; and
• I have found out how to sex ants. Apparently, you need a bowl of tepid water (not too hot) and drop the ant directly into it. If the ant sinks and drops to the bottom of the bowl then it is definitely a girl ant. If it floats then, you guessed it, buoyant.
Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook for updates on Bird Flu and how the Coronavirus restrictions progress. We will email you with updates about the club.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year, but, more importantly, please keep safe.

John Smith. Chairman and Exhibition Secretary.


Editorial Ramblings


As John has already pointed out it has been a funny old year. From March until mid summer, no meetings, no exhibitions, no meeting friends in their home and certainly no holidays. When restrictions eased in July Mary and I were able to go to our usual holiday destination in Cornwall during October, just before the second wave of restrictions were introduced. However, we did tend to keep ourselves to ourselves by doing cliff walks and visiting remote areas, as far as possible avoiding germ spreaders. Places that were open such as the Minack Theatre were open for pre booked visits only and strict social distancing rules.
We are actually looking forward to having our Covid jabs (never thought I would say that) and I urge all members over 50 to do the same as it can’t protect you if you don’t have it.
My bird watching activities have been curtailed this year and my year list of species has suffered accordingly. Even rare migrant species were thin on the ground in Cornwall this year and the birds in my garden are almost nonexistent this winter but that may be down to my neighbours ginger tom.
As we lurch towards the new year and Brexit lets hope we can at least have meetings and we won’t get ripped of with too many price rises in the shops.

Ken.


Zebra Finch and Red Mite


Some twenty years ago a well-known Zebra Finch Breeder and exhibitor, who has kept canaries and zebra finches for over 50 years, wrote an article about the phenomenon that red mite were never seen by Zebra Finch breeders and after reading his Article, a university ran a test by introducing Zebra Finches to red Mite infested cages and Canary aviaries. They were astonished by the results which were not explained by the myriad of test and investigations which they carried out over the ensuing two years before they moved to another project.
Apparently, fanciers of other Australian finches have also never experienced red mite infestations and the author of the Article suspects that there may be something in the blood of these Australian colony nesting birds which protects them from such pests.
The Author's father kept canaries and British birds and regularly suffered red mite infestation problems, which vanished as soon as the Author began keeping his Zebra Finches with them.
The Author's son is a poultry fancier who has had red mite problems in his poultry pens and in March this year he and his Father converted a pen into an aviary and, as an experiment to see if red mite would be discouraged, introduced some Zebra Finches which happily shared the aviary with the existing chickens (steady hens) and bred.
The Author was sceptical as to whether the experiment would be successful, but promised to report back at the end of the year.
He has just reported back that it’s the first time in eight years of keeping chickens that they have been free of red mite. 


Exhibition Dates and Show Dates


Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19 Coronavirus the club is unable to hold any meetings until further notice.


The committee 2019-2021
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
        Sean Creed
Junior Committee:     Daniel Marchese


Seasonal Recipe

All Bran Loaf

Oh dear! no eggs, it must be the time of the year.

I use a breakfast cup.
1 cup of All Bran.
1 cup of caster sugar.
1 cup mixed fruit.
1 cup of milk
Place in a bowl and leave to soak for 1 hour.
Then, add 1 cup of self raising flour.

Put in a greased or lined loaf tin
Bake for 45 minutes at 180c
Very nice served with spread on.

Margaret Gardner.


From The Presidents Perch


Well from up here on the perch I am looking down on a year that is nothing like we have seen before. Even World War II was not like this, yes we may have had food rationing, bombing and other hardships but at least we knew and could see the enemy and could take appropriate action, not like this enemy we cannot see but only feel the results.
This is got me thinking, mankind takes a lot of beating in overcoming any hardship put in front of him, with all the normal things that have been stopped over the last year let us go off at a tangent. Without the Shows and Exhibitions to attend why not put our minds to improving our Stock we already have. Why not for one set out a better breeding programme of say one of of our breeds. Set out on paper a breeding programme with say the best trio you can put together and if possible a back-up, check the Standard’s Book on your particular breed and where you can score most points (you may find this quite revealing) and get your breeding pens together as early as feasible, then hope that all your hard work gels. Another thing you could put your energies to is your chicken housing, etc. How can you make your life easier looking after your birds, like small changes to the houses, easier feeders and water containers. Fitting pop-holes so you do not have to enter the pens to open or close them or easier egg collection. All these things need once in a while for you stand back from the trees to see the wood. A bit of lateral thinking is a very good thing and can do wonders to your brain, it is never to late to try it, go on give it a try.
I hope that this article has given you all some hope for the future as it looks likely that this coming year is going to be a bit short on Shows until we know what we can do and have time to implement them. Please be patient and also hope that you do not have to wait to long to get your vaccine and be able to get around and see anybody and everybody we want to see when we want to see them.
Finally I would like to thank all the committee and others that have kept us up to date with the news of the Club during these very trying times and just hope that better times are around the corner. Wishing all the very, very best for 2021.

Neil.


Editorial Deadline for next issue
When restrictions ease in 2021
Email will be sent
(01285) 656480
ken.cservenka@sky.com

The Cotswold Pheasant & Poultry Club
Website
www.cotswoldpoultryclub.co.uk
Cotswoldppc@hotmail.com

Housing Order

As of Monday 14th December all poultry must be under cover, not in open topped runs.

Club subscriptions

Club subscriptions run from October until September and are usually payable at the Club Annual General Meeting on the second Friday in October.
If you haven’t already paid please either send a cheque made out to “The Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club”, to Kathy Harrison, 185, North Home Road. Cirencester, Gloucestershire. GL7 1DY.
Alternatively online to the Club Bank account.
Account Name: The Cotswold Pheasant & Poultry Club.
Sort code: 30-98-41
Account number: 03190855

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Chairman: Mr John Smith 01666 824763.

Cotswold Quill editor: Mr Ken Cservenka 01285 656480 ken.cservenka@sky.com

Secretary: Mrs Margaret Gardner 01666 510248