I have been offered the role of Game Keeper on my shoot

Just returned from the afternoon rounds, fixed another feeder and put out more waterers. It was hammering down yesterday and this morning so I donned wellies, waterproofs and signed out the CO's rover. Loaded up and the moment I drove out of the barn the sun came out! Typical.

As you've got access to a pc try using this app Weather Radar - Live UK Rainfall Radar - 5 Minute Updates - Netweather
type in the postcode & put it on "anim on" & you will see where the rain is & be able to judge if it will hit your area. I find it useful & often it gives you a better idea than the Met office of what to expect over the next several hours. Today for instance I've just had it on & there's no rain south of Sheffield on it!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Cheers, I usually dont worry but a day and a half of heavy rain after all of these hot dry days I didn't want to ruin the grain by taking the open topped trailer out behind the quad. I dont mind getting wet, its only a couple of hours after all!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Our Mustard(to replace the 1/3rd of the cover crop that was overtaken by redshank seems to have failed(unless this sun helps) its a thin carpet of 1" stalks.....not good however our Mk4 royal has come on leaps and bounds.
All birds out and this week alone the lads have had 5 foxes.
Ive been asking the farmer for Mustard all year. I may have to sow some myself next year but sheep are big on this estate so often crops are grown solely for sheep to eat, ploughed in and reseeded with something that benefits from the sheep shit!
It means sowing by myself is a big risk. Ive asked for strips on plough but its going to take a lot more badgering by me. I need to prove that partridge like it to encourage the wild birds.
 
Ive been asking the farmer for Mustard all year. I may have to sow some myself next year but sheep are big on this estate so often crops are grown solely for sheep to eat, ploughed in and reseeded with something that benefits from the sheep shit!
It means sowing by myself is a big risk. Ive asked for strips on plough but its going to take a lot more badgering by me. I need to prove that partridge like it to encourage the wild birds.
If it helps, we put in Mk4 Royal and Autumn promise, the Mk4 initially was very very patchy however has caught up well and with this week of sun should grow well after the downpours we've had. The Autumn promise was successful at either end of the patch however the centre for some reason didn't take very well and the redshank overtook it so we chain harrowed and threw a bag of mustard on which atm isnt doing too well.....all using a seed spreader and rolled in. We have Guinea Fowl, the buggers have trampled most of the crops and make a right racket and hammer the feeders but don't seem to clean up after themselves so it's food wasted.
We had a local farmer come and do our Maize(we should have done the lot really) for the price compared to the seed and due to the sun and virgin ground its averaging 10-12 foot, we're stripping cobs and leaving them around for the birds.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
All of our farming is done by a contract farmer, he is paid by the agents who run the estate. The Family take an interest but dont drastically interfere with the farming.
 
Are you still doing this all for fun? Dont get me wrong, if I could afford it I would do it for FA, sounds like an awesome retirement "hobby'.

Dont tend to get too many gamekeepers down under, they are still raping the natural (and introduced) fauna in the state forests as pests.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Are you still doing this all for fun? Dont get me wrong, if I could afford it I would do it for FA, sounds like an awesome retirement "hobby'.

Dont tend to get too many gamekeepers down under, they are still raping the natural (and introduced) fauna in the state forests as pests.
I'm waiting on a new contract to start which should give me another year or so but this summer I haven't had much work so this has been filling about 4 hours a day. Now if the season goes well I can keep the shoot how I want it and will be able to cut down the hours to a few per week and save the holiday up for when the poults arrive next year.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
After lunch I will be nipping over to put in another hour on the welding and a couple of hours on the feed round. I have two restored feeders to put out. I really should count them all up!
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Ive almost finished welding the A frames and I have cut the connecting bars. A quick round of feeding combined with dropping off 2 restored feeders and a thrash through the brambles with the quad has been this afternoons work. I caught up with the shepherd and now have to shoot a couple of lambs tomorrow, broken legs apparently, still fresh meat for the freezer.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Well the shepherd is now down a hogget and its hanging in the chiller. He has had problems at home meaning he had to store his firearms, apparently I have been a great help so I can now use his chiller for deer:-D:-D.
I was surprised at the hole made by the 22-250. Very quick and very dead with a head shot.
The game cart frame is nearly done. Just a weld or two to finish and then clean it up and spray it black.
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Quick question for you Ugs and anyone who might have experience of this sort of thing......

I have a small river running past my house and then a big hill on the other side of the river. At the top of it are 4 fields totalling about 40-50 acres. For the past few years I’ve been eyeing this river up thinking it would make an absolutely cracking drive. If I could get birds into the fields at the top of the hill, they could then fly over the guns who are stood at the bottom by the river, in front of my house.

It’s got all the ingredients to be an absolute belter.

However, there are no woods at all in these fields. I’d need to be putting in some serious game crops and the birds would need somewhere to roost.

Anyone got any game crop preferences / recommendations? This is Cumbria so they need to be hardy, as mentioned above there are no trees anywhere nearby so they’ll need to provide both roosting and cover (maybe plant different crops in strips?)
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I personally like mustard but am a novice at cover crops as my last shoot was all woodland. I am having to relearn crops.
BASC and NGO will visit and give free advice. Bright seeds will visit too.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
If the fields are a sun trap then the birds will find them irresistible. I find that a line of feeders 50 yards apart, from the nearest pen to the cover crop helps encourage them if there are no hedgerows to help.
 
As a cover crop I've found that Jerusalem Artichokes are very, very, effective. Fast growing, perennial, nil maintenance required once established, cheap, not fussy about growing conditions and if you don't get any birds one can always dig up a slack handful of the tubers and eat them.
 
We've got artichokes in, this is their second year and at least 5 ft tall, they don't tend to last very well once the cold and frost gets them. We got a tonne off FB for about £20.
I wanted to try a Highland mix as our shoot is on the edge of the moors-M62. but we got MK4 royal mix and Autumn promise which in patches have done well.
Have you thought of Raspberry canes? I know its hard on dogs and beaters but possibly in patches while trees grow....? Cheap as chips.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I suppose its going to be difficult if its a sheep field half under water all year!
 

Ravers

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I suppose its going to be difficult if its a sheep field half under water all year!
It’s on top of hill so no drainage issues. Because the fields are out of site of the house, we generally don’t graze animals in there. We’ve literally got about 40-50 acres of unused grass that just gets turned into sileage and that’s it.

Will experiment with artichokes and see how we get on.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
It’s on top of hill so no drainage issues. Because the fields are out of site of the house, we generally don’t graze animals in there. We’ve literally got about 40-50 acres of unused grass that just gets turned into sileage and that’s it.

Will experiment with artichokes and see how we get on.
If grass will grow then a mixture would be an option, wild bird seed grass mix with either a surface feed plant such as Kale or maize (mini varieties can be planted) mixed in. Willow or hazel is rather quick growing and silver birch is good for restoring the ground.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Despite or possibly in spite of what the farmer has done the birds actually do seem to be where I want them for the 13th October and eating from my new feeders too!
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And the roe like the cover too
 

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