(Another) Experiment

I've been sensing the presence of pheasants.

Although the purpose of this blog is to document the intended rise of a small rough shoot in south west Scotland where only wild birds are wanted, I have taken an executive decision to broaden my horizons. Since reared pheasants have started appearing on the farm over the past few weeks, I have been interested in the prospect of feeding them, or at least learning about feeding them.

The Chayne plays host to a small number of wild pheasants throughout the year, but no effort is ever made to shoot them. I watched as the blackcock chased them around for his own amusement in May, but, on the whole, they bring nothing to the table. When I was offered two sample pheasant feeders by a local gamekeeping supplier last week, I decided that now might be the time to see if I can feed reared pheasants and learn how to control their movements.

True to form, I set up the two little feeders this morning, filling them with discount maize and scattering handfuls of feed around the undergrowth in the windbreak above the farm. I know that there are moral objections to feeding birds that have overflowed from a neighbour, but I feel absolved by the fact that I really have no idea what I am doing, and the chances of any of them hanging around very long are very limited indeed. In addition, it seems rather unfair to retain ownership of pheasants which have no reason to show any loyalty to the proprety where they were released.

I can’t afford to feed pheasants for more than a fortnight, so as soon as they work out that food is on offer, the clock is ticking until my pockets are empty. However, in the unlikely event that I end up shooting a single pheasant as a result of my feeding, I will be delighted.

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