About six years ago I bought a small farm as a family home and started the business of learning about farming by inviting someone to graze their sheep on my ground. The grass was poor and full of thatch and needed a fair amount of work to improve it. After a while the chap left and I figured that it was time to have a go on my own. I have a full time job but reckoned that if the stocking levels were kept low, we could have enough sheep and cows to graze the grass but not so many that the workload would be too much.
A couple of years on and a HUGE learning curve having been climbed, it was clear that I was failing. I just do not have the time or skills to do the job properly so it was necessary to find a way of keeping the grass down without too much work. Having looked into a number of options I eventually decided to fence a paddock or two for deer. This done, a few old hinds and a reasonable stag were purchased and left to get on with life without too much disturbance. I was delighted with the experience. They are fun and interesting to spend time with, they graze the grass well and they require very little veterinary input. The experience was so good that another paddock was fenced and a few more red deer purchased. Having had them on the place for 3 years now I have to say the experience has been utterly brilliant.
This enterprise was not entered into to make money; it is merely a way of keeping the ground in good order in a way that I enjoy. It was intended to be a park and not a farm. I was just about to double the ground that the deer had available when I was visited by people who clearly feel deer should be totally free. Both my paddocks have been ruined and the deer are finding new homes amongst the neighbouring farms and woodland.
It’s been a very chastening experience. I fed them every day for a month and a half in the winter and lost non to the conditions. I have had to hand feed a poorly hind in a barn for two months before she became strong enough to go back out on to the grass. These animals are now free amongst recently planted woodland and farmland and will be subject to a D day like assault by local shooters and dogmen. And really good news, the hunt is very active here.
In their haste to free these deer, they have actually condemned them. I am sure it’s not what they intended.
Not sure what to do next.