Young Farmers profiles: 18-year-old Milly Scarborough-Taylor explains why she loves rearing game birds

Milly Scarborough-Taylor, Norfolk Young Farmers.

Milly Scarborough-Taylor, Norfolk Young Farmers. - Credit: Norfolk Young Farmers

As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club (YFC) members, MILLY SCARBOROUGH-TAYLOR explains the process of rearing game birds.

This year I was hired as a full-time worker in the game bird industry, where my responsibilities include feeding in the morning, bedding the huts and pens, building sections for the birds – to keep them in smaller groups to help prevent them crowding – and putting nets on top of the pens.

I enjoy the variety of responsibilities the job offers me as I have a lot of independent work and I have to use my common sense to fix problems instead of relying on others, making me not only more independent in the workplace, but also outside of the workplace.

During catching season the start and finish of my day varies as the weather plays a massive part when catching birds. If it rains, catching often gets cancelled but we also have to consider how hot the birds may be and might get throughout their journey, so early morning catches and late nights are the best times to keep the birds cool.

The busiest time of year is the catching season which starts late June until mid-August. We start catching the birds at seven weeks old. Most of our birds go to private shoots and estates around the country. Each crate can hold up to 40 birds depending on the size of the bird. Some have fewer, as the birds are bigger.

This week I have been getting pens ready for birds to go into. This entails checking for holes, making sure all the drinkers and the heaters are working. I have placed netting on top of the pens, tightened any lose tilts and emptied any hoppers of old food ready to re-use. I have moved birds into different pens and caught any birds that have escaped, and have put fresh straw into crates for the birds ready for when they are transported.

I love working within the agricultural industry because the variety that it offers me. I love working outside and always busy giving me real job satisfaction.

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In the future, I would like to have 10 acres, which I would use to rear a variety of game birds, including pheasants and partridge in the summer months. Then in the winter months I would like to be running shoots as the shoot captain alongside the gamekeeper, using the birds I had reared.

Since being a Young Farmers member I have learnt how to drive various farm machinery, handling livestock such as sheep, cattle and game and poultry birds. This has allowed me to expand my knowledge of the agricultural world and has made me realise how much I enjoy doing agricultural work. Through playing team sports such as hockey and tug of war, which Diss Young Farmers have been successful in, I have learnt how to become a valued member of the team and gave me the opportunity to take part in the Four Peaks Challenge which has changed my perspective on life.

Without Young Farmers I wouldn't have gained so many different experiences and a boost in confidence and skills which I value and use every day.


Name: Milly Scarborough-Taylor.

Age: 18.

Occupation: Game bird rearing assistant.

YFC club: Diss.

How long have you been a young farmers member?: 2 years.

Diss YFC meets at Burston Pavilion, Tucks Mill on Wednesday evenings. For more details contact the county office on 01603 731307.