The Countryman's Weekly


December 04
08:00 2019

Black rabbit of the family in sheep country

By Mark Hopkins.

IT stared as I walked past with the lurcher by my side; the dog took no notice as I glanced back at the creature which was staring and I thought it an ugly brute – but maybe not to his ewes as the ram had a head the size of a large cardboard box.

He never lifted his gaze as he watched me walk towards the top of the hill. He’d obviously emptied his bucket of food pellets as the container was cast aside and upside down. He was on his own for the time being, fenced in, but soon he would be put to good use when certain ewes would be selected for him to serve to produce next year’s lambs.

I stood on top of the hill and gazed down to see if there was any movement near the warrens on a banking near a small stream. This was sheep country and old coney had to be controlled as he was competing with the sheep for grazing. It’s a tough enough job for farmers as it is, so good grass was needed to keep the sheep right and the rabbits were going to good use in the cooking pot.

I urged my lurcher to get on and she soon started to mark a nice warren which only consisted of seven holes, two which were on top of the bank and hidden away as the rabbits’ emergency boltholes to escape. Many a rabbit is lost if you fail to find and net these.



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