Saturday, 28 April 2012

GWCT: Pheasant Release

This year’s first Best Practice Day is to be held on Tuesday, 22nd May at the Trust’s demonstration farm at Loddington, Leicestershire and will focus on stock husbandry and associated management practices during the release period. The proportion of the shoot budget that many of us spend on buying poults is considerable. Not only do we want as many of our investments to survive through to the start of the shooting season, we also want those birds to be fit and healthy and fly strong over the line. The 22nd May event will help you understand how best to achieve this, with reference to that crucial early phase, starting with ordering your birds. Maintaining good health, dietary requirements, feeding regimes and wing clipping are amongst the topics covered as well as the importance of continuity. We will also look at the choice of release site and pen construction and discuss pen habitat and release densities. You might also be interested to learn what proportion of birds are lost from the date that they go to wood through to the start of the shooting season – what was their fate before a shot was fired and how can we minimise losses? The day runs from 10:45am to 3:45pm and costs £60.00, including a ploughman’s lunch. Dr. Mike Swan will lead the event, together with input from Alex Butler and James Watchorn (Loddington’s new ‘keeper). We start indoors but will get out to look at our rearing field and release pens. The course is limited to 20 people, so please contact Lynda Ferguson on (01425) 651013 or via to secure a place. I hope that you will be able to join us. Yours sincerely, Alexander Butler Regional Advisor – Central England

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Visitor Centre Update

Although the weather has proved somewhat changeable over the last two weeks, the builders have started to render the straw wall insulation on the new visitors centre. With solar panels, 'sheep's wool' roof insulation and rain water harvesting tank already installed, the building is progressing well. The next few weeks should see the installation of the woodchip boiler heating system and the completion of the grasscrete car park with recycled fencing. The internal fixtures and fittings are also taking shape and completion should take place in early summer.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Woodland Kings

The majority of our woodland and hedgerow work has been completed. We have selected scores of mature trees to be felled over the course of this winter and spring. The thinned woodland aims to create a more structured understorey, allowing more biodiversity and habitat. 2011 woodland clear fell areas have been 'beaten up' replanting those trees that failed to establish, We have planted over 1000 metres of new hedgerow, with a mix of hawthorn, holly, privet and hazel. Our work has been supported by EWGS and HLS grants. James Watchorn and Richard Barnes(Kings) have had their first farm visit, devising a number of new mixes, drives and habitats to meet our conservation and shoot requirements. We have relocated a release pen to a more central part of the farm to form a new shoot drive.