Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A month of snow and spring


Sorry that it has been so long since my last entry - I didn't realise that it had been quite as long as it has since I last posted on here! Since the start of February, I've seen the fen in snow, ice, rain, wind and spring sunshine. The spring weather seems to have disappeared again though, leaving the animals a bit miffed that they can't bask in the sunshine each day.

Over the past month or so, 4 of our horses here have fallen in various ditches, due to the ice we had a few weeks ago. There were 2 on Verralls (Percy and Tim) who fell in on separate days, and eventually were dragged out of the ditches using our RTV, strops and shackles. In the breeding herd, Gracie and Hanty were found in the ditch along by guinea hall - Gracie seemed to have given up at getting herself out, whereas Hanty seemed happy enough to jump in and out of the ditch, trying to herd up Gracie in the process. On this occassion 2 fire engines ended up being called out and helped us with hauling Gracie out. So after these multiple ditch-events, things have thankfully been alright with all 4 of the horses, and no-one else has fallen in!

Another 'happening' recentlly has been the decision of who to take on as a 9-month grazing placement here in the warden team. Heritage Lottery have funded about 10 of these placements around the country, and one of these will be based at Wicken Fen. During their 9 months here, they'll basically join Carol and I in the care and maintenance of the animals here on the fen, as well as gaining experience over at Wimpole too (which I'm hoping to tag along with!). We interviewed 4 people a few weeks ago and decided on a guy (Shaun) who will be starting at the beginning of April. It will be really good to have another member of the grazing team here!

More recently, things within the breeding herd of koniks have started to liven up a bit. The tension within the group has been increasing and the stallions have seemed to be more active, becoming more protective of their females and sparring more with each other. Today, I carried out checks on the cows, bulls and breeding herd - the picture below is of Wendy having a good browse around guinea hall ponds - she was tucked away so took a while to find!

Thanks for reading.

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