Few partridge chicks survived in the wild

Back in June John rescued a nest of partridge eggs that had been disturbed by a stray dog in one of our fields.

We successfully hatched the eggs off in the incubator and returned the chicks to the place where their nest had originally been. Plus another twenty partridge chicks that John had bought from a game farm.. Albeit in a release pen to protect them from the large number of hungry foxes we seem to have acquired in this area and which represent the main threat to the chicks’ survival.

One of the numerous reps who turn up in the yard ... “Is he in?” being their usual charming opening repartee, to which I tartly reply: “Is who in?” implying I suppose a hidden host of farmers, or men that I have concealed in the pantry, is, to get back to the point, a Game Conservancy volunteer.

When he heard what we were doing with the partridge chicks, and that we were not returning them simply to take a pot shot at them over winter, he mentioned that the covey might well be adopted by a barren pair of adult partridges. And he was right.

Because of the appalling wet summer (hurrah we have eventually finished harvest) very few wild partridge chicks have survived in our fields. In fact none. Have not seen any. But now, a proud adoptive Mum and Dad shepherd their covey of juveniles around. It is a lovely sight to see all the covey whirring over the hedges when disturbed.

They have been living in one of the many beetle banks established around our arable fields. Because it has taken so long to harvest the last field of wheat, and much of the crop has started to shed, the Partridge Family (can’t help it) have taken to living in amongst the standing corn. Subsequently when we actually got into the field yesterday to cut the corn, we were treated to numerous sightings of the covey.

The upturn in the weather before the closure of our lane has enabled drilling and baling to move quickly.

The rape is in and after John made a few small bales for use in the hen hut and stables, a contractor has made the rest of the straw into big bales. They can stand out in the field until they can be brought home when the lane resurfacing has finished and we can access the fields again by road.

The prepping team of workmen who have arrived to put up signs, mark out widths and test where utility lines lay (there aren’t any they discovered, I could have told them that but they did not ask till later), have proved fascinating to our herd of cows.

One of the gang who was prodding around in the ground with his back to a gate jumped sky high when he felt his bottom being energetically licked by a curious cow. Hey diddle diddle indeed.

Mrs Downs