Worrying News

A case of myxi this late in the year is not unusual, but what could it mean for my chances of ferreting this winter?

After an idle summer, my ferrets are looking forward to getting stuck into their winter work, spreading chaos and heartache amongst Dumfries and Galloway’s rabbit population. The farm where we had such fun ferreting last year continued to carry a strong stock of rabbits long after the informal season closed, and I was hopeful that high densities of bunnies might mean that I was in for a sporting winter this year.

Sadly, the first signs of an outbreak of myxomatosis appeared a few weeks ago and it now looks like there could be quite an epidemic. A distorted and unhappy rabbit is not a sight that anyone likes to see, but I am particularly miffed about this outbreak which threatens to damage my ferreting chances this coming winter. From an ecological perspective, rabbits singlehandedly support their own complex tier of predatory animals, so when their numbers drop suddenly, all sorts of other birds and mammals will start to feel the pinch too.

In recent years, myxomatosis is becoming much less devastating as rabbits build up immunities, but there is every chance that when I come to enter my ferrets in October, the boat will have sailed.

One thought on “Worrying News

  1. Really enjoying following a blog about a shoot with such a different terrain from our own. Myxomatosis has been very bad here in Hampshire too, but we almost always see a good recovery in time for ferreting. Maybe because the slightly higher temperatures increase the length of the rabbits’ breeding season.

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