THE recent downpours and change in the weather has made feeding the pheasants and ducks down the fields and in the woods, even more of a skittish and slithery experience than normal.

Sharing muddy gateways with large tractors and the deep wheelings they create can mean the Gator we use just can’t get a good enough grip to climb out of trouble if it slides into a deep rut. But yesterday it wasn’t only us, or rather me, getting stuck. “Can John come and give us a pull?” flashed up the message on my phone. Fiona and Taffy, who were also out spreading bird seed on bales to feed the game birds, had dug themselves in so deep, that despite their best efforts to get some traction with straw under their Gator’s tracks, they were going nowhere fast.

And I am afraid that the muddy conditions that all these downpours have created, are hitting even closer to home. Sadly, the guinea fowl are getting close to “drinking in the last chance saloon”. Not a true reflection of the true meaning of the phrase. No my guinea fowl have paddled up their run so much that any eggs they lay are encrusted in mud. All attempts to give them the freedom of the rest of the paddock have resulted in chaos as they insist on flying into the road.

I have told John the cull must take place when I am out for the day. Once they are oven ready and in freezer bags I can cope. But I have asked him to spare me the sight, and sound, of their demise. Somehow I don’t feel the same about the geese as they have turned into such a horde of bully boys.

From across the field, if the geese spot me throwing crusts, vegetable peelings or suchlike over the fence for the hens or ducks, they come screeching over, necks and wings outstretched, hissing furiously with beaks ready to peck viciously at any hungry hen snaffling up the goodies.

At least three of the geese have foreshortened, crumpled beaks from confrontations with Fizz our sheepdog. She loathes them and will spend hours sitting by a gate to tempt them to push their beaks through the double thickness netting.

Last year we had to mercy kill one of the flock as she had completely bitten off its beak. Hence the reason for the double thickness of netting this year. So while Fizz hasn’t been able to get a firm hold of their beaks yet this year, she has had a jolly good go.