A journal of daily events - Written by Heather Currie
In January it’s pretty much what you would expect
Days are filled with feeding the pheasants, shoot days, beating and picking up. But there’s more going on behind the scenes, like dogging in the boundaries, catching up, and vermin control. Feeding, beating and picking up are all pretty self explanatory so I will go into more detail in the dogging in and catching up side of it.
Dogging in is basically chasing the pheasants either away from boundaries or towards the food which will then guide them from the pen to the drive where we want them so they know where to go for food and where to roost when they are still poults. During the shooting season dogging in is done just to keep them off the boundaries.
With it being January and later in the season the birds are obviously getting wise to what happens now, so most will stay near the food, but there’s still some that are determined to see where the roads go and what’s over the boundary. Normally dogging in is just done early on when they start to wander, but with such mild weather this season there’s been quite a few determined to keep wandering! We use a collie and a labX for this job at this time of year, as we need to keep our labs rested for shoot days. We find collies really good for this as they have no interest in catching the birds, just want to round them up.
Catching up is something that people might not know much about, this happens before Feb 1st (as at close of season they are classed as wild birds). We use rearing field pen sections to make small pens with a funnel entry which allows the pheasants to wander in for food, but they can’t wander back out. The catchers are fed using wheat and maize and are checked at least twice a day (more if not a shoot day). Then they are put in a holding pen with food and water, then both the hens and cocks are sent to a game farm breed stock for next season.
The vermin control we do at this time of year is pretty much just ensuring foxes don’t kill the birds.
In my next post for February I will tell you all about what we do. Here’s a few pics below from January
Heather Currie, Gamekeepers Partner and owner of Gundog Rugs
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