The great­est chal­lenges

Country Smallholding - - Feature Wildlife -

Main­te­nance is the big­gest chal­lenge Roy faces. He says: “Young trees I planted in 2004 are now 12m high, and the pond is over­grown with reeds which need clear­ing. Ev­ery­thing grows so fast and it’s hard to keep on top of it all. I do have help oc­ca­sion­ally in the sum­mer, but it cer­tainly keeps me fit and ac­tive.

“I’m nearly 80 now and it’s hard work. There’s mow­ing and prun­ing and I’m in­volved in an ash project, look­ing at how to elim­i­nate ash dieback dis­ease through care­ful prun­ing and main­te­nance rather than de­stroy­ing the trees. It all takes a lot of time. I fill my log stove with wood pruned from the trees and have lit­tle need for cen­tral heat­ing be­cause the wood burner heats the up­stairs through vents in the ceil­ing.”

Other chal­lenges in­clude the rats. “They eat the guinea fowl food, but I’ve found that they also like Pil­grim’s Choice cheese with sul­tanas. I put that in a trap, which goes bang and kills them in­stantly. I don’t want too many of them run­ning around spread­ing dis­ease and tak­ing birds’ eggs.

“The fox is a big prob­lem too. He takes the ducks when he can catch them and he took two guinea fowl last year as well. The foxes are put off by hu­man urine so if I know where they are I col­lect some and spray it around the guinea fowls’ area.”

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