The English Grey Partridge?

I have managed to foster 3 times to barren pairs, but nothing last year as I couldn't find a barren pair locally. I assumed with the good weather combined with predator control we had a good natural rearing time.

I do run a small shoot on the farm and release a few pheasants but the partridge are not done to shoot just for the pleasure of seeing them and hopefully to preserve the species. Shooting of them isn't banned but we limit guns to 1 brace each per season, over the last few years we've shot about a dozen mainly as they always manage not to fly over the guns !

I think rearing under broodys is as near natural as you can get and the released birds are reasonably streetwise and hopefully have some parenting skills to breed themselves next year.

It's true there is something special about hearing greys calling to each other and being under a covey in flight, with a little help and understanding hopefully future generations will still hear their calls
 
I have managed to foster 3 times to barren pairs, but nothing last year as I couldn't find a barren pair locally. I assumed with the good weather combined with predator control we had a good natural rearing time.

I do run a small shoot on the farm and release a few pheasants but the partridge are not done to shoot just for the pleasure of seeing them and hopefully to preserve the species. Shooting of them isn't banned but we limit guns to 1 brace each per season, over the last few years we've shot about a dozen mainly as they always manage not to fly over the guns !

I think rearing under broodys is as near natural as you can get and the released birds are reasonably streetwise and hopefully have some parenting skills to breed themselves next year.

It's true there is something special about hearing greys calling to each other and being under a covey in flight, with a little help and understanding hopefully future generations will still hear their calls
This is why we do it; but we’ve put a total ban on shooting any of them as the same people can’t seem to help themselves if you say just one each etc. The ones that ended up shooting them did the least/nothing for conservation. We just enjoy having them about now. Can be a headache when combining though when the young refuse to get out the way!
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Greys are rare for a reason! I have to stop combining at dusk because my boss doesn't want them munched up. Regularly I see a covey get up out of the spring barley just in front of the header only to land 20 feet further ahead. Each time there seem to be less popping up but some will have jugged down under the cutterbar. Occasionally I'll see a puff of feathers as one goes in the front. :(

The Frenchies will walk away and fly far enough to be out of harm's way.

Losing 20% of the day by stopping this early is a pain but we service up at night then start earlier the next morning so the net effect on harvesting capacity is less. Persuading the trustees to fund a 3000 acre combine for cutting 2200 acres was interesting!
 
Greys are rare for a reason! I have to stop combining at dusk because my boss doesn't want them munched up. Regularly I see a covey get up out of the spring barley just in front of the header only to land 20 feet further ahead. Each time there seem to be less popping up but some will have jugged down under the cutterbar. Occasionally I'll see a puff of feathers as one goes in the front. :(

The Frenchies will walk away and fly far enough to be out of harm's way.

Losing 20% of the day by stopping this early is a pain but we service up at night then start earlier the next morning so the net effect on harvesting capacity is less. Persuading the trustees to fund a 3000 acre combine for cutting 2200 acres was interesting!
I try to walk them out the side but as you say after a couple of flushes on a hot day they tuck down. I find myself getting annoyed when there’s a wildflower meadow or bird seed plot 20 meters away but they go in the bloody crop.
On another note, as we’re doing more spring cropping they love having the later stubbles in autumn and all game seem to thrive in peas in the spring. Still waiting to see the first brood...
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
What kind of numbers are you supporting over what acreage @Brisel?
Just under 500 last September. The main beat is around 1300 acres with a further 400 acres on a neighbouring tenant's farm. Another 400 acres further up the valley but a lot more wooded & far fewer greys up there. The boss has just done a deal with another 800 ac tenant to host some covers and a full time beat keeper there. The bulk of the numbers are in the main 1300 ac beat.
 
Just under 500 last September. The main beat is around 1300 acres with a further 400 acres on a neighbouring tenant's farm. Another 400 acres further up the valley but a lot more wooded & far fewer greys up there. The boss has just done a deal with another 800 ac tenant to host some covers and a full time beat keeper there. The bulk of the numbers are in the main 1300 ac beat.
Serious number then. Must be a full time job just keeping them going!
 
Greys are rare for a reason! I have to stop combining at dusk because my boss doesn't want them munched up. Regularly I see a covey get up out of the spring barley just in front of the header only to land 20 feet further ahead. Each time there seem to be less popping up but some will have jugged down under the cutterbar. Occasionally I'll see a puff of feathers as one goes in the front. :(

The Frenchies will walk away and fly far enough to be out of harm's way.

Losing 20% of the day by stopping this early is a pain but we service up at night then start earlier the next morning so the net effect on harvesting capacity is less. Persuading the trustees to fund a 3000 acre combine for cutting 2200 acres was interesting!
I find using my knee on the horn when there is wild life in front of the header keeps them from harm
Should wire a switch to keep the horn on
 
We have one farm where last year there were 30 or more in 3 coveys
This time of year only see them when in the tractor or sprayer they are very elusive and do not like regular disturbance

3 or 4 other blocks have pairs this year

Grass and livestock helps
A muck heap every 50 acres to attract insects would be my management
 

MrNoo

Member
Location
Cirencester
I saw a lot around here last Spring all paired up and hoped for great things last summer only to finish combining and didnt see a single covey, most disheartened, didnt see a single bird all season until December when I saw a few pairs, then this Spring there were a similar amount as normal. I have never seen this occur before. Fingers crossed we have a good year this year.
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Serious number then. Must be a full time job just keeping them going!
3 full time gamekeepers plus a full time apprentice. More keepers than farm staff these days! It's hard work - they still have hundreds of traps & snares down even at this time of year.

I find using my knee on the horn when there is wild life in front of the header keeps them from harm
Should wire a switch to keep the horn on
You'd think that 575 horsepower of combine harvester would be noisy enough to move them away...
 
3 full time gamekeepers plus a full time apprentice. More keepers than farm staff these days! It's hard work - they still have hundreds of traps & snares down even at this time of year.
Gamekeepers are evil though, and do nothing for conservation :banghead:

I'd like to do more trapping but only have so much time to get everything done. Do your keepers feed all year round or have they stopped for a month or two now?
 
I saw a lot around here last Spring all paired up and hoped for great things last summer only to finish combining and didnt see a single covey, most disheartened, didnt see a single bird all season until December when I saw a few pairs, then this Spring there were a similar amount as normal. I have never seen this occur before. Fingers crossed we have a good year this year.
Do you get lots of dog walkers round when the weather improves in spring? My pest control includes keeping dog walkers off who think they have the right to roam and run their dogs down hedges with greys sitting... then blame us for killing stuff. Repeated disturbance will clear them off an otherwise decent plot
 

MrNoo

Member
Location
Cirencester
On 2 blocks of land we do but the main block where we have a good number it is very quiet, only myself, the keeper or stalker about but not often. it was just very strange as have not had it happen before. The only thing I could put it down to possibly was a large influx of French from a Commercial shoot next door (circa 3 miles away)
 

Brisel

Member
Location
Dorset
Gamekeepers are evil though, and do nothing for conservation :banghead:

I'd like to do more trapping but only have so much time to get everything done. Do your keepers feed all year round or have they stopped for a month or two now?
They feed for most of the year - certainly until the young have fledged. Hopper placement is designed to be near a good nesting site though really this is the other way around - put a hopper where you want them to nest. Ours have coil springs and a paving slab underneath. 6" mesh around the outside to prevent pigeons & other larger birds taking it all, plus it helps stop them getting smacked by raptors as they feed. When we were doing industrial pheasant shooting they were using hundred of tonnes of wheat each year. Now they are using around 40 t/year plus the smaller seeded stuff thrown around the tracks for smaller birds over winter as part of the AB12 supplementary feeding CS option.
 
They feed for most of the year - certainly until the young have fledged. Hopper placement is designed to be near a good nesting site though really this is the other way around - put a hopper where you want them to nest. Ours have coil springs and a paving slab underneath. 6" mesh around the outside to prevent pigeons & other larger birds taking it all, plus it helps stop them getting smacked by raptors as they feed. When we were doing industrial pheasant shooting they were using hundred of tonnes of wheat each year. Now they are using around 40 t/year plus the smaller seeded stuff thrown around the tracks for smaller birds over winter as part of the AB12 supplementary feeding CS option.
I'm just going back in to a stewardship agreement now after being in HLS for well over a decade. Had two years of not being in one but kept a lot of the options for our own enjoyment and to harbour beneficials and greys etc. So we've got to do this feeding for the next five years to supplement hopper feeding. I've been using that concrete mesh round our feeders to keep the roe out and to stop the raptors getting the birds at dinner time. I think the squirrels are the worst for raiding hoppers here at the mo. I think one of our biggest draw backs here is that we're on clay and in a wet time they don't enjoy it. I'm hoping the quantity of margins/bird seed plots etc keeps the mud off their feet to make it more bearable.
 

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Creamy, untreated and in a glass bottle: Britain gets a taste for old-fashioned milk

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Creamy, untreated and in a glass bottle: Britain gets a taste for old-fashioned milk

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