Badgers...

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Ray Blockley

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Jul 12, 2009, 8:33:02 AM7/12/09
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Hi folks,
 
Any advice or concerns regarding Badgers?
 
As we have cleared and tidied our proto-orchard, it seems that some badgers have moved in... They clearly like the lack of nettles, briars and thistles. No set discovered yet, but they have made themselves a communal (and extremely smelly!) latrine and have been digging huge holes all over the place - at first we thought it must be a Were-Rabbit... (apologies to non-fans of Wallace & Gromit...)
 
They have also dug-up and half-devoured / demolished a Wasps nest to get at the grubs we assume. The wire rabbit-guards around the trees also seem to be great Badger-scratching-posts...
 
We have no objection to sharing the plot with them, but are concerned for the trees and of course, windfall fruit that we will hope to use.
 
Cheers,
 

Andrew Lea

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Jul 12, 2009, 8:55:58 AM7/12/09
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Ray Blockley wrote:
> Hi folks,
>
> Any advice or concerns regarding Badgers?

Ray,

I have a badger sett within a few feet of my orchard though not actually
in it. They can be quite powerful creatures and I think while the trees
are small, robust wire fencing / staking is good. I never actually
had any trouble from them when my trees were small but they were all
staked an protected (more against rabbits / hares). My orchard land was
arable before I planted it so they had no history of going there much -
if yours had gone wild they may be much more 'embedded' and it is
difficult to persuade them to go elsewhere once their patterns are fixed
and if *you* are the interloper!. They do dig latrines and excavate for
grubs etc elsewhere in the garden and also dig out ground level wasp
nests but not in my orchard.

I have never knowingly had them scavenge healthy windfall apples and if
they do it is not a lot, though i do tip rotten fruit in a special pile
next to one of their tracks elsewhere which they seem to take (they tend
to have a fixed network of paths). Rats are much more of a problem to me
in terms of damaging fallen fruit (maybe cos I have chickens nearby). I
don't think badgers care much for apples (unless quite soft and rotten)
compared to other softer fruit. I have seen a badger stand on its hind
legs to strip and eat the plums straight off the low hanging branches of
a Victoria tree in my garden. They certainly snaffle up the windfall
plums every evening like striped vacuum cleaners.

In my experience and that of my neighbours a lot of their foraging
behaviour depends on how wet / dry the ground is. If the season is damp
they can find plenty of 'natural' food incl earthworms, grubs and roots
so will leave apples alone. If the autumn is very dry they will
doubtless go for whatever they can get. That might include apples if
they are soft and fully ripe.

They have not been a huge problem to me, i like to have them around, and
I hope yours are equally benign. If you do have issues, remember they
are a protected species but most counties have a Badger Group (via your
County Wildlife Trust) who can advise on how to deter them most
effectively.

Andrew

--
Wittenham Hill Cider Page
http://www.cider.org.uk


Melanie Wilson

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Jul 12, 2009, 9:15:09 AM7/12/09
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Could I also add be careful of badgers and if you ever get a dead one be
very sure it is before approching it (long stick). I hope you can find a
way to live with them in harmony as it is desperatly sad to se so many as
road kill these days.

Mel;

Jez Howat

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Jul 12, 2009, 10:44:40 AM7/12/09
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I know he is on holiday at the moment, but I am sure the Stephen has a few
things to say about badgers... and having spent hours with him in his
orchard, I also know that not many of his comments are particularly
complimentary! If they are there in any great numbers they will defecate
everywhere and, at least in his orchard, have caused damage.

I am not an expert on badgers etc. but I get the feeling that, since
becoming protected, the numbers have shot up dramatically. I am sure the
solution that Stephen would give is to get a large angry dog... I believe
that is still a legal way of getting rid of them.

I am (of course) not advocating this advice, but I think it would be worth
balancing opinion with his at some point.

Jez


Melanie Wilson

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Jul 12, 2009, 11:12:40 AM7/12/09
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>If they are there in any great numbers they will defecate
everywhere

Seems very unusual behaviour badgers typical build latrines in wooded sites,
single area defecation is rare and may be a response to the large agrey dog
and a need to mark territory against it. Latrine will be statistically
closer to tree trunk, and they prefer conifers so perhaps plant one ?

Personally I feel angry dogs and badgers seems pretty close to badger
baiting which is illegal.

Illegal acts include
a.. mark or ring a badger
a.. to sell, try to sell or keep a live badger
a.. to posses a dead badger or part of one which has been acquired illegally
a.. to kill, take, or injure any badger, including use of gas, poison or
snares
a.. to cruelly ill treat any badger
a.. to use badger tongs
a.. to interfere with a badger sett whether by intention or recklessness
a.. to obstruct a sett entrance*
a.. to cause a dog to enter a badger sett
a.. to disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett
Don't tackle badgers yourself it is danerous apart from anything else,
including damage to any dog you might use ! Talk to your local wildlife
people and any badger watch group in the area. If you realy can't live with
them there are ways to move them , but often changes to the environment can
mean both parties can live in harmony.

>I am not an expert on badgers etc. but I get the feeling that, since
becoming protected, the numbers have shot up dramatically.

Thankfully but about 45000 are road kill per year. Suitable habitat
declines all the time with development.

Mel


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Jez Howat

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Jul 12, 2009, 2:15:49 PM7/12/09
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Mel,

I should point out that Stephen does not own an angry big dog, and pretty
much puts up with them as far as I can tell. Having seen the mess that they
make, I can understand the frustration when he is trying to run a commercial
orchard...

Personally, I sit on the fence with this one!

Jez :-)

Melanie Wilson

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Jul 12, 2009, 5:31:42 PM7/12/09
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>Having seen the mess that they
make, I can understand the frustration when he is trying to run a commercial
orchard...

I can also understand the frustration. Hence why I suggested changes to the
environment , to change the habits of the species, and making contact with
the local badger group, both of which are far more responsible and safe
actions, IMHO, than using another animal against a protected species :)
Sorry but I really don't think that is a sensible option for dog or badger.

At no point, I don't think, have I suggested inaction or putting up with
any problems is the only solution. I had hoped to suggest balanced
methodology where mutual coexistance can happen if at all possible.

Mel

bodger

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Jul 13, 2009, 8:12:14 AM7/13/09
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Hello everyone, I'm pleased to have found you again.

With regard to badgers, I'm a life long poultry keeper and as such, I
sometimes feel that my birds are under constant threat from various
predators. The best thing that I've ever bought is a mains electric
fencing unit and since then, touch wood I've never suffered any losses
from foxes or badgers.
An electric fence of this type will energise a number of miles of
electric wire. Badgers are bumbling animals and a continuous length of
wire set at a height about 9" around your fence or at the base of a
hedgerow will almost certainly see Billy Brock come into contact with
it. A good hard jolt will see the creature merrily on its way and
hopefully keeping well away from your orchards. The units are very
economical to run and will only cost you about 20 pounds annualy in
electricity. As long as you remember to switch it on each evening, you
can even leave it switched off in the daytime.

On Jul 12, 10:31 pm, "Melanie Wilson"

Melanie Wilson

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Jul 13, 2009, 2:08:11 PM7/13/09
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>The best thing that I've ever bought is a mains electric
fencing unit and since then, touch wood I've never suffered any losses
from foxes or badgers.

You can also battery power ones if you don't have mains power to hand, but
check there isn't a sett inside your perimeter, before you switch it on :).

I have still had poultry losses and a couple of years ago a vixen & cubs
tried to raid the poultry at my field, one cub became entangled in the
fencing (poultry fence mesh ) It did cut loses down for a while but after a
couple of years they seemed to time the pulses or something ! Anyhow that is
foxes you might fare better with badgers. I'm not aware there is any special
measures to take to use it near them, if the public has access though you
need warning signs.

I also found around the whole propert the cutting vegetation away from it a
bit more trouble than it was worth. But they can be very useful !

stephen hayes

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Jul 18, 2009, 3:32:08 PM7/18/09
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Hi, back from holiday, discovered some nice cider in Duloe, Cornwall, see here http://www.cornishorchards.co.uk/  they do a nice range of juices, blush cider (didn’t get a chance to ask what they colour it with) and a farmhouse cider with a very nice west country flavour from bittersweets and sharps Very friendly lady, if anyone is down near Liskeard and Looe, the orchard is half way between

 

I used to like badgers, when I only very occasionally saw one in a wild place like Dartmoor. I must be very careful what I say about BADGERS since there are strong emotions and strong laws, but as the subject has come up and so has my name, I will state the following facts

 

Badger numbers have quadrupled since they were protected They carry TB which they spread to cattle, this has cost many dairy farmers their livelihoods and the taxpayer £2 BILLION so far The problem could be solved if the government lifted the protection and allowed farmers to do the necessary, which they would with any other wild animal that was increasing in number and causing significant harm.

 

Badgers have smashed their way through the rabbit fencing which my wife and I erected at fantastic expenxe to, believe it or not, keep rabbits oput of our orchard. If we repair the dsamage, they smash though the next night. They have destroyed our vegetables, particularly the sweet corn, so that we cannot grow it. They climb trees to eat greengages, I have found their fur in my plum trees 5 feet above ground level and the stones ion their droppings. They dig holes everywhere, I tripped in one and mnear;y broke my ankle.

 

Question-if I had broken my ankle, who should I sue for compensation, the government or the local badger group?

 

My neighbours all keep fierce dogs. I don’t. I get all their badgers on my land. If I try to do anything about it, I could be heavily fined or go to prison.

 

The Badger Groups think this is a satisfactory state of affairs.

 

Anyway, I actually have more damage caused by apple scab and sawfly, which are currently not protected species.

 

PS driving home from Cornwall today, Julia and I had the narrowest escape ever from serious injury when a deer bounded across the road, I got my foot to the brake and the animal, a red deer hind, passed across the road safely with we agreed less than 2 metres to spare. We were doing a perfectly legal 50 miles an hour and half a second earlier or if we had been doing 55, the deer might have come through the windscreen. Several human deaths a year result from such accidents. Deer and badger road kills are up because numbers are up. I think that humane control by shooting is the most reasonable solution, but I know that others have strong opinions the other way and I don’t wish to get into an argument, either here or elsewhere. But deer and badgers are increasing and they do pose real problems for agriculture.

 

Regards

 

Stephen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


John W. List

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Jul 19, 2009, 8:07:44 AM7/19/09
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> I used to like badgers, when I only very occasionally saw one in a wild
> place like Dartmoor. I must be very careful what I say about BADGERS since
> there are strong emotions and strong laws, but as the subject has come up
> and so has my name, I will state the following facts

I think you would benefit from sitting down with a pint of fine cider,
and buying an electric fencer.

We get badgers, deer and rabbits. We get some bark damage in the
orchard from the deer and rabbits, along with the ocasional hole from
the badgers, but we don't get them in our vegetable garden. Why?
Electrified rabbit fencing. They don't seem to like a few joules up
the nose. Try it, you may find it works for you (or at least your
badgers! :) too.

I could type reams on the subject of badgers, bovine TB and all but
it's off topic and divisive. Outside this window is our herd of TB
free Welsh Blacks, so I count myself as closer to the cutting edge on
that one.

As to tripping in holes and sueing, read this week's Farmers Weekly,
it's got a piece about walkers going after farmers because of cattle
in fields. Recognise that the countryside is a nice place but not
without its associated hazards, and enjoy it for that.

JWL

On 18 July, 20:32, "stephen hayes" <hayes...@btinternet.com> wrote:
> Hi, back from holiday, discovered some nice cider in Duloe, Cornwall, see
> herehttp://www.cornishorchards.co.uk/ they do a nice range of juices,
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