On the beautifully sunny evening of Thursday 12th May, some of our new tenants and staff were treated to an evening with Paul, Head Gamekeeper here at Overbury.
The tractor (driven by the lovely Graham) towed the trailer load of us down to the Hatchery.
Here, Paul showed us how the pheasant and partridge are bred on the Estate, right from the egg through to the fully grown bird.
We saw the outside pens where the lucky cock birds were out numbered by the 10 to 1. This is where the eggs are laid and collected daily by Paul and Tom.
Guests were treated to an inside view of the Hatchery where the eggs are washed, sorted and stored; the eggs are then incubated and finally hatched. The whole process from the egg being laid until hatching takes 24 days.
We saw inside the nursery pens where the newly hatched chicks are cared for. It was fascinating to see the little balls of fluff running around. At around 7 or 8 weeks old the birds are let into outside runs to harden them off, before being released onto the surrounding farmland.
The tour ended with another tractor and trailer ride down further onto the farm where Paul explained a lot more about the bigger picture and the interaction between shooting, farming and conservation. There is an important reason for everything the Gamekeepers do and it is all based around the ecology and conservation of the land.
Focus is firmly on ensuring the land is suitable to sustain all manner of wildlife right from larger mammals such as deer, dozens of different species of birds, insects and butterflies; as well as protecting crops.
All through the tour Paul asked if anyone had questions, which they did! The number of questions proves how engaged the guests were with Paul and how fascinating the subject is.
The evening was also a chance for tenants and staff to meet with people they may not necessarily have spoken to before. The noisy chatter and laughter in the trailer were testament to the fact that we here at Overbury are a very friendly bunch!
Thank you Paul for a wonderful evening. A lot of food for thought.