A Day in the Life of… a Game Rearer

This week we speak with a Gloucestershire based Game Rearer who talks us through a typical day at work. From ungodly hours and idyll chit chat to eager keepers…


“It feels like my head has only just touched the pillow as my phone kicks off, it’s the all too familiar wake up routine at 4am. I hastily pull on my trousers, which are stiff as board from the countless similar morning toiling on my knees, catching thousands of pheasants. For most people the shooting season starts at the beginning of autumn, but for me it starts in the middle of summer. Knackered trainers on, I hop in the truck and make the short trip to the rearing field which is a short car journey of 3 minutes.


As I pull onto the field the sun is just starting to ebb the dark night away, at this hour time seems to momentarily stand still in the twilight. The boys, a mixture of roped in mates and fools, are there ready and waiting at this ungodly hour to earn a hard £30.


This morning we are catching 3,000 pheasant poultry to go to a small shoot half an hour up the road. I instruct the boys to run the first three sheds in. The young birds are driven out of their grass runs and into the night shelter where the birds are easier to handle and catch. The birds run straight in with the routine being straightforward. Monotonous but straight forward, catching birds, removing the soft plastic pieces from their beaks, clipping the primary feathers on one wing to prevent them leaving their new home too quickly and then placing them in crates of 35. Easy? Yes, now repeat this routine 3,000 times.


When the pheasant goes down quickly enough, we move onto the second one with the valuable moments of fresh air between sheds cherished. Some lads have a quick smoke whilst the others guzzle water. Whatever they choose happens in the blink of an eye as we are working on a tight schedule with the guys aware of a dressing down being received if they take too long. See, the aim of the game is speed, the quicker we are, the cooler it is, the less stressed the birds are and the quality of our product is insured. On the second shed we work in silence as there’s no time for idyll chit chat, that’s saved for those glorious minutes between sheds. As we clear each shed, we stack the crates on the trailer behind the truck and as we swing the last crate to the top, I sigh in relief. Another 3,000 birds gone, only 30,000 more to go. I cannot wait! I love my job, but there comes a point in any man’s life when after a couple of months of it, he gets fed up of kneeling in pheasant excrement.


We strap the crates down and tarpaulin the top, we can’t risk the birds getting damp in transit as it does them no good. I head off down the road, trailer in tow, ready to deliver the birds to an eager keeper. 3,000 today, 5,000 in two days’ time. I’m getting through them now.”