Ian Woodcock, gamekeeper
Saturday 23 September 1995
"Then I jump into my truck and go around my beat, checking traps for vermin. Sometimes my dogs catch a rabbit, which I feed to my ferrets.
"When I come back, it's time to take the broody bantams off their nests. Nowadays they use artificial heating to rear chicks, but I stick to tradition, with hens playing surrogate mother to the eggs I collect in the wild. I keep a record of when the eggs are put down and know exactly which day they'll hatch.
"At 9am I have breakfast and plan my day. On hatch days I transport the baby chicks out to runs in a field. I `bit' the pheasants with rings through their nostrils to stop them pecking each other to death. Every bird counts, and if they die I take it personally.
"When the pheasants are big enough they go into pens in the hedgerows. After three weeks they're free to leave, but they still fly back when I call them. Some of my neighbours aren't very cooperative, they grow sweetcorn the other side of the fence to tempt my pheasants.
"I visit the pens after lunch, then return to the rearing fields to move the coops on to fresh grass. Pheasants are remarkably stupid, and if we do it without trapping a leg we've done well.
"At 7pm I feed my dogs, then it's teatime, when I talk to my wife about the day. After tea, I put the chicks away for the night. Then I stand and listen for a bit. If one's crying, I know it's not under its mother and I have to start again.
"Once a week I go out rabbit-shooting, about 9pm. We shoot for an hour, then come in for a drink, then go out again with a lamp looking for foxes.
"I'm only half asleep at night, anxious about what might happen. It's like this seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. It's not a job, it's a way of life, but I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it."
Ian Woodcock was talking to Tony Kelly
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
Bank Holiday Monday opening times: Are Tesco, Asda and other supermarkets open today?
The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...
£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...