PCGB/DEFRA LIaison Update - 12/04/2017
Many Poultry Club members have appreciated the benefits to be gained by joining the Ringing Scheme. Rings, which can be purchased in multiples of ten, are a useful aid to bird identification and the recording of breeding lines for the poultry keeper. This makes them a crucial tool in the conservation and preservation of all our pure breeds of poultry. Rings are available to both members and non-members of the Poultry Club, and cost £2.50 per 10 rings, all sizes, to members and £3.50 for 10 rings, all sizes, to non-members. The rings are individually numbered and also have the size and year on them. Each year uses a different colour and the rings look extremely smart on the birds. If a bird is sold, the Ringing Scheme Transfer form is used, thus maintaining the records. Please Note - there is a £3 cover charge for each order for both members and non-members.
Download the form and send by post or alternatively complete the form and e-mail to email@example.com and make your payment via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org, stating in the notes box that it is a ringing scheme order. Please ensure you use the current form from the website as previous versions have out of date rates and might delay your order.
At the moment, the scheme is voluntary. Although the Ringing Scheme has only been in existence since 1994, the number of poultry breeders using the same scheme had risen enormously and a total number of 30,000 rings were sold last year. Even some members who doubted the wisdom of the Ringing Scheme have now become enthusiastic supporters.
Click here to download the Ringing Scheme sizes.
Click here to download the Ringing Scheme order form.
Click here to download the Ringing Scheme Transfer form.
Click here to download a simple stock record sheet.
Rings can be worn by show birds who will not be at a disadvantage in comparison with non-rung birds in competition. The Poultry Club provides prizes for rung birds at the National Championship Show.
Security is another important aspect as it goes without saying that rung birds can be easily traced at all times. Even when a bird is sold the ownership can be transferred through the Poultry Club's record system. Poultry Club Council has recently agreed that the ring number may be tattooed under the wing as an extra security precaution.
The recording of breed lines is standard practice with most types of livestock and if poultry breeders are to move with the times, they should consider the merits of the ringing scheme. So if you are not yet a convert to rings why not try a few this year and see the benefits for yourself? Leading breeder and Panel A judge, Andrew Wetters is a supporter of the scheme and gives his opinion below:
“I have completed several seasons of using Poultry Club scheme rings, which is proving invaluable, as last year I had four breeding pens of one variety, three of another and two in two other breeds. With toe punching, the marks often grew out and ringing with plastic rings always left a few birds at the end of the season which could not be traced back due to loss of rings, or commonly when birds had been shown and become mixed up when unmarked.
“Since changing to hatching by incubator, the use of small wire cages and divisions allows eggs to be sorted at 18/19 days at the transfer to the hatcher. Chicks are subsequently marked using felt tip markers, which is renewed as they come off the heat source, and then rung at up to ten weeks according to breed. Once rung, they are written up into a book and a permanent record achieved.
“As time progresses and culls are made, the rings can be recycled for the later hatched chicks and records adjusted accordingly. Old rings have been kept back from later culls and I use them for breeding stock which will never be shown. For example, green leg pile and yellow leg black-red Moderns thus having all stock recorded even if the ring is not from the ring year.
“When stock has been bought in I have had some success in ringing them with the next size of ring up, and as this stock is never shown, previous year's rings come in handy. On the odd occasion when a bird has been missed or lost a ring because it was too big, an oversize ring can be used. Timing is crucial with some stock, Sussex bantams for example, where the cockerels use a rather big D size ring and the pullets a C ring. Pullets need to be rung 2 to 3 weeks before the cockerels and the odd one may get missed.
“The scheme does have a few drawbacks which are unique to poultry. Pigeon and rabbit fanciers can predict almost to the day when they need to ring their stock, but with poultry there is a degree of trial and error, and this is when fanciers have their highest stocking levels and most work to do.
“I have found the rings very helpful in keeping breeding records and certainly easier to keep track of favourites - those promising chicks which steal the eye as youngsters and hopefully doing the same for the judge in the show pen.
“I agree with some of the critics of the Ringing Scheme. A leg ring does not make a bad bird into a good one, or make it worth more money. But it does mean I know it is mine if there are any penning mix-ups at shows. I also know how it is bred and when it was hatched."
If you would like to participate in the Poultry Club's Ringing scheme, you can contact us by email. Our Ringing Scheme Co-ordinator is Kay Roadnight, who is happy to discuss the scheme and from whom rings can be purchased. We also welcome sponsors of the Ringing Scheme, with any help certain to assist in making the scheme more appealing to Poultry breeders.