Issue 59 December 2021
Welcome to the December 2021 edition of the Cotswold Quill.
Well, what a strange year it has been! We were extremely lucky to hold the September meeting where Paul Morgan gave us a very interesting talk on Spanish Fowl. As mentioned before, Paul heads 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 the case of the Spanish), there is a chance that the birds can be saved from culls caused by Bird Flu.
We were also able to hold the Annual General Meeting in October, which covered two years as we were unable to hold one in 2020. The meeting was lively, as usual, with several ideas for future meetings. The committee were re-elected for another year.
The committee have decided that it has been too risky to hold meetings since, due to the level of Coronavirus in our area. We will start holding meetings again as soon as possible.
It is disheartening to see Coronavirus on the march again, with the new Omicron variant spreading like wildfire. The good news is that the latest booster jab is reducing its effect and there is a record uptake of vaccinations. It is good to see a return to face masks in shops etc but again disappointing to see groups in shops without them. The shop staff seem to be doing nothing to enforce the masks and, judging by the people involved, are no doubt scared of getting thumped in the process. When challenged, they simply utter the word “exempt” and they do not have to prove it under the current law. More than once, I have just dropped my shopping, walked out and gone elsewhere.
To top it all, Bird Flu is now back with us, and it is worrying to see that it is so local. Please keep
your bio-security levels high, but it is impossible to protect your birds fully from wild birds without shutting them up completely, with all of the welfare issues entailed.
A ban on bird gatherings was introduced after a few cases, leading to complaints that it was too early, but APHA were obviously aware of what was coming, as it has now been identified as the worst season ever for bird flu. As at 10 December 2021, over 500,000 captive birds have been culled.
At the AGM we discussed swapping our Box Show and Annual Show over, in order to get the annual show in before the bird flu started, but that wouldn’t have worked this year as our November Box Show was cancelled due to the ban on bird gatherings.
Please keep an eye on our website for updates on Bird Flu and how the Coronavirus restrictions progress. We will email you with updates about the club.
With politics in the press all of the time at present, I recall a quote, in February 1980, by the then Presidential candidate Ronald Reagan which would give today’s politically correct lobby a field day. He joked:
"How do you tell who the Polish fellow is at a cockfight? He’s the one with the duck.
How do you tell who the Italian is at the cockfight? He’s the one who bets on the duck.
How do you know the Mafia was there? The duck wins."
Before the “woke” brigade start complaining, I apologise if any offence has been given to any ducks or cockerels who may be reading this.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and prosperous New Year, but, more importantly, please keep safe.
John Smith. Chairman and Exhibition Secretary.
At the risk of being patronising I hope you have all read my piece about avian flu on this page. It is important that we are all extra vigilant and bio-security conscious in what is probably the worst outbreak in recent years.
Bird flu and the Omicron variant of Covid-19 will probably have an impact on what we can safely do regarding our programme of events, which is annoying after Margaret has produced the programme for us.
I have mentioned before that I include bird-watching as one of my interests. So far I have been keeping away from lakes and rivers but if I do venture near any in the near future I will wash my boots outside in the front garden and not wear them near my poultry.
The only bird-watching I have done recently is a visit to the military land on Salisbury plain for a raptor watch event where groups of three or for people stake out certain locations. We were fairly unlucky as we only saw Kestrel. Other groups were more fortunate as they saw Hen Harrier, Merlin and Short-eared Owl, but that is the way it goes sometimes. Raptor Watch events occur on the plain throughout the winter so I may have better luck next time.
Christmas has crept up on us this year as it is only a week away as I write this. Usually I exchange Christmas cards with some of you but due to meetings being cancelled this hasn’t been possible, so I will donate to a charity instead.
I hope you enjoy this cut down version of the Cotswold Quill and have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.Ken.
Those of us that have registered our poultry will have been receiving notifications from APHA Animal & Plant Health Agency that the British Isles have had the highly pathogenic avain influenza (H5N1) popping up throughout our islands. It has been suggested that it will be the worst season ever for it.
Unfortunately there has been an outbreak locally fairly close to Cricklade. The 10km surveillance zone covers an area with South Cerney and Ashton Keynes to the west, Lechlade and Highwoth to the east, and much of North Swindon.
We urge all our members to be vigilant and to up your game when it comes to bio-security.
Please refer to the Defra website for advice concerning bio-security and the regulations inside the 3km protection zone and the wider 10km surveillance zone.
Two simple rules to follow: don’t let anyone including friends near your birds and wash you boots if you have walked near any bodies of water before attending to your birds.
Let’s hope this is an isolated incident and we can all keep our birds and ourselves safe.
Our secretary, Margaret Gardner has produced an interesting and varied programme for 2022. However, the dates are all subject to the restrictions prevalent at the time for both Covid-19 and Avian Flu. Any changes will be notified by email and phone.
Wed 12th Jan 2022 - A talk on showing Eggs By Karen Elliott
Wed 9th Feb 50th Anniversary of CPPC Event Bring food
Wed 9th March – Club Box Show In Cricklade Town Hall Annexe
Sat 16th April – Visit to Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Slimbridge, GL2 7BT
Wed 11th May – The 30th Club Egg Show Quiz and Fish & Chip Supper
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
Spanish Fowl and the work of the breeder group
Paul Morgan is breed registrar for the Spanish Fowl. By the 1840s they were present in five European countries and were exhibited regularly at the Crystal Palace Show until the early 1900s. They are good layers of white eggs and don’t have a tendency to go broody. The face is extensively white extending into the base of the ear lobes; the comb of the male is erect but flops over on the hens. Similar breeds are the Minorca with a red face and the Andalusian with Blue plumage, both exhibiting white but smaller ear lobes. Early imports arrived in the west country on Spanish ships visiting local ports and became established in the Tiverton area. They were popular for having good white meat and their egg laying ability.
The breeding group use wing tags to identify birds and have a rigid breeding programme introducing a new bloodline every third year.
below from the speaker to John
Thanks for the invite. Thanks for organising the Powerpoint slides and equipment. Thanks for the cages, brush and dustpan for clearing up. Thanks for the great group interest & participation. Thanks for the tea & cake. Thanks for the raffle prizes. Thanks of course for your enduring support to the Spanish breed & me. Mileage 65 miles each way. Paul Morgan.
Parsley Stuffing Mix
Half a mixing bowl of Breadcrumbs.
1 Onion chopped and boiled (save the water).
1 large or 2 bantam eggs.
Salt and pepper to taste.
2 to 3 tsps chopped parsley (Dried).
Mix all together adding the onion water to mix.
Add to a buttered ovenproof dish.
Press mix into the dish and dot with butter.
Cook until lightly browned.
From The Presidents Perch
Here we are again being hit by a double whammy just before Christmas and the New Year with Omicron and Avian Bird Flu. I just hope that you all are OK and your Birds are safe too. We were on tender hooks that we had seen the worst of Covid 19 and that we would hopefully miss the Bird Flu this season, but no we get hit by both hitting The Club with a double hammer blow. We can but hope that by the Spring we can look forward to better times and that the Club can again start meeting up with-out all the worries we have at the moment. Your Committee are trying their best to keep things running along but hit barriers every-time. One day, one day they will win and we will be able to meet up without worries.
In the mean time Ken is producing a “Cotswold Quill” so that we can exchange seasonal greetings to one and all to boost our morals. I would like to thank Ken for doing this at such a busy time even though it may be a smaller issue than Ken would like to publish.With-out the thing that I am repeating myself I would really like to Wish You All A Happy Christmas and A Very Prosperous New Year and Hope that we can All get through this period unscathed and that next years breeding goes ahead with brilliant results. I also hope that the programme your Committee has drawn up can be implemented to the fullest.
Life President: Neil Harvey
Chairman & Exhibition Secretary: John Smith
Vice Chair: Sandy Lee
Hon.Secretary: Margaret Gardner
Hon.Treasurer: Kath Harrison
Trophy Steward : Charlie Berry
Show Secretary & Editor of "Cotswold Quill": Ken Cservenka
Webmaster : Sandy Vaughan
The Committee Members:Richard Burford, Sean Creed, Pam Bailey.
Editorial Deadline for next issue
When restrictions ease in 2022 Email will be sent
(01285) 656480 firstname.lastname@example.org