A landscape that’s harmonious,a food chain that’s balanced.
The role of a gamekeeper is often misunderstood.
They play an important part of maintaining a healthy food chain hierarchy, as well as conserving rare breeds – such as the grey partridge here at Holkham. Working with Natural England, Game Conservancy Trust and other conservation groups, our gamekeepers also help to protect ground nesting birds and mammals.
Conserving the grey partridge
In recent years, the number of grey partridge has plummeted dramatically on a national scale due to intensified agricultural practices, the loss of habitats and insects, and an increase in predators.
However, at Holkham we have a policy of conservation and wild bird management dedicated to conserving them. We provide adequate nesting cover near a source of insects, and plant autumn brood rearing crops, such as cereal and lucerne, together with large areas of wild bird mix. We also have hundreds of small feed hoppers sited across the estate to ensure the partridges have access to wheat all year round. This keeps the birds in good condition and reduces the time they spend foraging about, making them less susceptible to predation.
One of our most effective management techniques is the picking up of eggs from the wild and hatching them under broody hens. We rear the chicks until they are approximately six to eight weeks old and then foster them back to pairs of partridges who have lost their young (barren pairs). Our continued commitment should ensure our grey partridges continue to prosper, along with the skylarks, tree sparrows, turtle doves and many other rare and valuable species.
The woodland at Holkham is incredibly diverse and covers over 2000 acres.
Protecting and enhancing our ecosystems is at the core of our very purpose.
We’re leading the way in agriculture, farming with the future in mind.