Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club


The Newsletter of the Cotswold Pheasant and Poultry Club

Issue 65                                                                                                                                     April 2024

Chairmans Chatter

Hello and welcome to the April edition of the Cotswold Quill.

A. I. Mention those two letters to the majority of people today and they immediately think of “Artificial Intelligence “, but to us poultry keepers of course, it means the dreaded Avian Influenza that has been plaguing us for a few years now. But, according to the Poultry club website, the whole of the U K was declared free from HPAI on the 29th of March 2024 in captive flocks of poultry and all other birds kept in captivity, and the current risk to poultry is classified as LOW however, there are still some cases of HPAI H5N1 found in wild bird populations, so DEFRA are advising that we should all be “cautious and vigilant“where our birds are concerned.

Now that Spring is officially here it would be nice to think that a fair few club members already have some chicks or ducklings running around, despite the incredibly wet weather that we have had in the first few months of this year.

Personally speaking I have not got off to a great start, mainly due to the fact that my very old

(about 20 years I think) FIEM cabinet incubator has finally given up the ghost, I should have sorted it out long before I needed to use it but, typically I put it on the “back burner“ and then forgot all about it until the day I wanted to switch it on!

During a phone conversation with Jane Freeman, who is going to talk to us on the work of the Rare Poultry Society at our club meeting on the 10th of April, she happened to mention to me that, former club member Harriet Caudrey had an incubator or two that she no longer had any use for, so thanks to Harriet, I can hopefully get a few chicks hatched before we get too far into the spring. Some of you will know Harriet and will be aware that due to health problems she is no longer able to keep any birds, so, on behalf of the club I would like to wish her all the best for the future.

On the subject of health, again probably most of the membership will already be aware that Judy Hancox, one of our most active club members has suffered a very serious health problem, our President Neil is going to tell you more about this in his article. Here’s wishing Judy a full and speedy recovery.

So far this year we have been lucky enough to have some very interesting guest speakers visit us at our monthly club meetings and none of them have had too much trouble finding our new venue of Castle Eaton village hall.

Terry Hannam gave us a talk on his celebrity ducks that have appeared on TV, and also talked about his favourite breed of duck, the Orpington.

We also had Paul Tuckwell who gave us a fascinating talk on the use of falconry to conduct pest control. Paul brought with him some of his hawks and falcons, beautiful birds.

Our club member Dr. Chris Green aided by my very good friend Robb Brown gave us a talk on the work and activities of the Avicultural Society and their connections with other like minded societies and individuals in Europe and indeed across the world who aim to conserve and breed a multitude of different species of birds, from hummingbirds to Cranes.

Another of our members who needs no introduction, Simon Harvey, very kindly gave us an insight into the world of rare and endangered species of pheasants. Please see the article by Ken on this particular club meeting.

Before I sign off, it would be nice to get some feedback from you, the members, as to what birds you are breeding this year and the sort of numbers that you are hoping to hatch, you can contact me, or our secretary Margaret. Hopefully we can get a good idea of the popularity of the different breeds preferred by our membership, even if you only hatch one it would be good to know what it is.

Finally, our May meeting is one of the clubs main events in the calendar year. I am of course referring to our annual egg show. This year will be the first time we have held the egg show at Castle Eaton, and I think I’m right in saying that the committee has decided that it is not feasible to have a fish and chip supper due to the logistics involved. There is another article in this newsletter giving more details.

All the best for now and may all of your eggs be fertile.

Regards Jake

Egg Show & Pot Luck Supper 

The 31st annual Egg show will be held on Wednesday 8th May. Unfortunately, I have a Hospital appointment at Cheltenham fairly late in the afternoon and will not make it to the meeting.

Charlie Berry has kindly offered to run the egg show this year. Please enter your eggs on the night and fill in the form in advance.

Your copy of the entry form is on the back of the schedule and the copy to hand in is on the same side as the schedule. 

A Pot Luck Supper is a supper where members attending bring food to share.

However, we don’t want a situation where we all bring the same item, so please liaise with the club secretary, Margaret Gardner (01666 510248) to avoid too many food duplicates.

Regulation for showing

If and when we ever get back to showing we must each have a CPH (County Parish Holding) holding number from DEFRA.

It's a 9-digit number: the first two digits identify the county, the next three relate to the parish and the last four digits identify the holding.

Avian influenza

The situation regarding this has appeared to ease with no cases reported recently. However, please be careful and practice good Bio-security at all times.

Editorial Ramblings

It appears that Jake has covered the future activities of the club and I wish to join him in wishing Judy a recovery back to full health.

Ill health has also resulted in former member Harriet Caudrey having to give up her birds, so I also wish her best wishes for the future.

I for one am fed up with the depressing wet weather we have been experiencing this winter and it appears to be continuing well into the spring. I have looked out most mornings over the last few months and said to Mary “I see it’s raining for a change”.

It must be having a detrimental effect on wildlife, particularly nesting birds. I imagine that migrating birds are looking across the English Channel and hesitating to cross. Owls also suffer as their soft feathers get soaked due to not having the preening oil of other birds. This impacts on their ability to hunt and can lead to loss of condition and even death. Spring flying butterflies will also find it difficult to fly and thrive in such weather and it may impact on their numbers next year.

My garden is a sticky mess of mud and the weeds and grass is taking over. I need at least a week of dry weather before I can even think of getting stuck into it. I bought Broad Bean seeds that should be planted by the end of February. I hope you are having better luck



In recent years Simon Harvey has been keeping Pheasants and on March 13th he brought live props to the meeting to share his passion for keeping this interesting and diverse family of birds.

Moat species shouldn’t be bred from until the second or even third year in captivity but there are exceptions that will breed in the first year but the fertility isn’t great. These are ring-necked, Golden, Lady Amherst’s and a few others.

Dark-throated Golden Pheasant

This is a variety of the Golden Pheasant developed by enthusiasts and was first seen in 1865. Male plumage similar to the wild variety with a red breast and under parts, yellow rump and an extended crest held tight to the head but has a dark face and throat. The eye is bright yellow. The female plumage tends to be darker than the regular variety found in the wild. Golden Pheasant are native to China. New varieties or mutations are still being developed the latest being Peach.

Lady Amherst’s Pheasant

The bird shown on the night was a female owned by Keith Orchard. Beautifully barred in shades of brown right down to the tip of its tail it is a striking bird in its own right. The eyes of the female are dark brown. The male has a glossy green crown with an orange/red crest tight to the head and the eye is yellow. The hood and neck hackle are barred black and white, the under parts are white and the rest of the body feathers are green, edged with black. The yellow tail coverts are tipped with red and the long black and white barred tail is approximately twice the length of the body. They are native to NE Myanmar through to China in dense scrub and Bamboo forest at an elevation of between 1800m to 4600m.

Grey Peacock Pheasant  

Anyone keeping and breeding Peacock Pheasant need to be aware that the chicks need to be hand fed to get them started. They inhabit forests in E Myanmar through to SW China and NW Vietnam.  The largest of the Peacock Pheasants, they have a bushy forward facing crest, grey/brown vermiculated plumage adorned with ocelli on the upperparts and tail each containing a green spot edged with creamy buff.

Blue Eared-pheasant

Most of the body is dark blue/grey; the feathers around the chin and up to the pointed ear tufts are pure white. Some of the long tail coverts are similar to Ostrich plumes and protrude over the tail, the outer feathers of which are white at the base until about half way. Usually found on rocky scrubby habitat above 2700m in central China to NE Tibet.

Barbary Partridge

The cock bird shown here is a pretty species very similar to the Red-legged Partridge that is released for game shooting in the UK but lacks the creamy white chin patch and throat of that species. It is resident in North Africa.

Kalij Pheasant and the following species are both in the Genus Lophura. The Kalij Pheasant inhabits a broad relatively narrow strip of mountain forest habitats from Pakistan along the foothills of the Himalayas through Nepal, Bhutan, and east to Bangladesh and South central China. There are nine subspecies and with advances in genetics this continues to change. They have a rear facing crest and are dark above with a lighter breast and under parts, very variable. In some regions hybridisation with Silver Pheasant occurs.

Silver Pheasant

The male is well named with its silver back and long flowing tail; however, the many subspecies show great variation in plumage pattern. The female tends to be brown throughout, though some of the subspecies have silver feathers edged with black on the breast and under parts.

Elliot’s Pheasant

The male is an attractive pheasant without being too gaudy. The black throat contrasts with the pale nape and the bare skin around the eye is red. The underbelly is speckled on a white background and the back and rump is black and white barred. The rest of the plumage is a combination of chestnut brown and white, including the long barred tail. They live in a forest habitat in SE China at an elevation between 300 and 1500m.

Falconry for vermin control

For our December meeting Paul Tuckwell brought with him two magnificent birds of prey, a Harris Hawk, a medium large hawk weighing in at 680gr or 1lb 8oz and a Peregrine/Lanner Falcon cross, giving a combination of speed and agility. The Harris Hawk is native to SW North America with the range extending down into South America, reaching Brazil, Argentina and Chile. The Lanner Falcon is a native of North Africa and is rare in Europe with only about 300 pairs. The Peregrine Falcon suffered major declines in Britain firstly due to the use of DDT that contributed to nest failures due to the chemical causing thinning of the egg shells and also persecution by game keepers and Pigeon racing interests. The Peregrine numbers have now recovered and are often found in urban environments nesting on church and cathedral towers. However, their normal habitat in the wild is quarries, crags and sea cliffs. These birds are used in Paul’s work to either scare off nuisance birds such as Gulls and Wood pigeons or to lethally control the numbers of rats, mice, pigeons etc. The jesses used to control the bird when on the perch or the handlers glove are often made of Kangaroo leather due to being light and durable. 

Runner Ducks and Friends 

Terry Hannan brought along some film stars to the January meeting, his Runner Ducks that he has used for film work including an advert for TK Max. Originating from Asia Terry keeps Fawn and White, one of the original colour strains imported from Malaysia and the self coloured White varieties. There are now 14 colour variants described in the 2019 British Poultry Standards book. They are good layers and another useful trait is they are good for training the herding instinct in sheep dogs. Other good ducks for egg production include Orpington and Campbell. The eggs are higher in fat and protein. For good eye health ducks need a source of deep water to at least allow them to dip their heads in.

The ducklings shouldn’t be given a food ration that is too high in protein. Terry has kept the Orpington for 20 years. They lay white eggs. Other egg colours vary according to the breed, ranging from white through to cream, blue and green. The attractive Magpie is frustratingly difficult to breed good ones. Cayuga are black with beetle green sheen as are the Black East Indian. Crested is a fairly standard duck shape with a pompom crest of feathers on the top of the head.


Seasonal Reminder

After the ravages of a very wet winter, check your poultry houses for rot and wind damage. Any damage could be an open invitation for a fox or other predators to gain entry.

Seasonal Recipe

Flat fruit cake


4oz or 113g Stork or similar

4oz or 113g Caster Sugar

6oz or 170g Self raising flour

3oz or 85g Mixed fruit


Cream the Stork and sugar in the usual way.

Use a 9inch square tin or 6 muffin size paper cases or 12 small paper cases

Bake for I hour at 350°C

Immediately after removing from the oven sprinkle with caster sugar.

Margaret Gardner

From the President’s Perch

Now we are into spring let us hope that the rains may ease off a bit and you all can get out and about and on with this year’s breeding and that the chicks can do well. It looks as if Bird Flu restrictions are getting relaxed a little, but we must keep our guards up and “The Club” may be able to put on some exhibitions this year. DEFRA may want every poultry keeper to register what we are keeping. That will be a bugbear and will make it harder for newcomers into our hobby or small enterprise's. We will have to keep a close eye on what is proposed.

It was good to hear Simon Harvey’s Talk on Pheasants at our last meeting. It brought back many memories of the early days of “The Club” I must thank Margaret for all her hard work in getting the calibre of speakers to our meetings throughout the year.                                                                                                  

 I must mention that some of our members are not in the best of health and I wish them all a speedy recovery. In particular, Judy Hancox who suffered a stroke recently and I hope is making a good recovery, also to Mike Hatcher who has been bed bound for some fair time but is now getting up and about again. Both have been and still are very good stalwarts of “The Club”. I Hope to see both of them gracing us with their presence soon at “Club” meetings.                                         Finally, I would like to thank April Hill for getting us our new venue at Castle Eaton Village Hall, a very nice Hall which suits our needs very well. Good luck to you all in this new season.


New Venue

 There may be some members who are not aware that we are now using a new but slightly smaller venue.
 Castle Eaton Village hall
From the Spine Road junction on the A419 head towards Swindon. Pass the Cricklade junction and after the bridge and the petrol station on the left take the next left turn.
From Swindon the junction is trickier as you need to cross the dual carriageway by exiting on the slip road from the outside lane, so be very careful especially as you cross the southbound lane.
As you enter Castle Eaton village take the left turning, follow the road around to the right and the village hall is on the right just after a left turning and pub. There is a small car park but you may park on the road on the same side as the hall.

Club Diary Dates

Diary Dates

Our secretary, Margaret Gardner has produced a programme for 2023/24. However, the dates are all subject to the restrictions prevalent at the time for both Covid-19 and Avian Flu. Any changes to the programme outlined below will be notified by email or phone.


Wed 10th Apr – A talk on Rare Breeds

                        By Jane Freeman – Live Props

Wed 8th May – The 32nd Club Egg Show

                  And Pot luck supper

Wed 12th Jun -       Club Outing

Evening trip to Brookfield Ostrich Farm.

Church Westcote, OX7 6SJWed 10th

Walk around and talk. 6.30pm

July             NO MEETING

Wed 14th Aug - The Club Bar-be-que Kindly hosted by Judy Hancox,                   The Butts Farm, South Cerney GL7 5QE

Wed 11th Sep – History of the Breeds

                        By John Smith

Wed 9th Oct Annual General Meeting

Wed 13th Nov – Club Box Show –TBC

Club subscriptions

Club subscriptions were due at the AGM.     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

For Sale & Wanted 

Trio of Black Dutch Bantams

Trio Black/red Yokohama

Pairs of Java Doves

Keith Orchard – 01672 520088


Millefleur Pekin Bantams, hatched 2023.

Partridge Dutch, hatched 2023.

Sultan, hatched 2022

Ann Creed, 01453 882923



The committee 2022-2023

President                           Neil Harvey

Chairman                         Jake Jacobs

Treasurer                           Kathleen Harrison

Secretary                           Margaret Gardner

Membership secretary   April hill

Show Secretary and

Editor Cotswold Quill       Ken Cservenka

Trophy Steward                 Charlie Berry

Web master                   Sandy Vaughan

Committee                       Sandy Lee       Richard Burford

                                            Sean Creed        Pam Bailey

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


 (01285) 656480

The Cotswold Pheasant & Poultry Club