Celebrating the brilliant work, the game industry has done for conservation and biodiversity, the awards were split into five categories including Innovation, Husbandry & Welfare, Habitat, Responsible Land Management and of course the Marsdens Special Award.
However, before we start, it’s important to say, it was wonderful to see so many nominations for fellow game keepers and industry experts and we’d like to say a BIG thank you to all those who nominated. The NGO and Marsdens were delighted with the high calibre of entries and would urge anyone who did not win this year to re-enter for next year’s awards.
First up on the list… in no particular order may we add, is Craig Dennis of Thorney Moss Game Ltd.
Craig won our coveted Conservation Champion’s Award for Husbandry & Welfare, nominated by vets, for his innovative approach in adopting forward thinking rearing systems.
Based over in Lincolnshire, after leaving school Craig started work as a game keeper, working his way up over the years to become head keeper. It was during 2008 he took the plunge and decided to set himself up with a game farm and he also manages the Iford Downs and Worlaby shoots. Craig has always strived to rear his birds in a more efficient way - a vision which he has seen through.
Craig brings a huge amount of passion and drive to his focus on all aspects of husbandry and welfare, from health, biosecurity, and feed management, through to the overall environment for his birds.
A crucial element of his conservation ethos, Craig maximises the use of renewable energy resources, with a modern, efficient rearing field that relies heavily on biomass and solar energy. Every inch of Craig’s rearing units are temperature controlled, which creates a more uniform temperature with no cold spots. The result of this means less stress on the birds, as they are not scrabbling for warmth and most importantly there are far less disease challenges. With a controlled environment the bedding is also drier which is another major plus as there is far less chance of coccidiosis.
The results speak for themselves, his partridges and pheasants are excellent quality, with improved survival rates and of course a hugely reduced vet bill with minimal environmental impact. This proven rearing method obviously agrees with the birds as when they are delivered in July, they look older than they are and extremely healthy.
Craig is forward thinking – constantly innovating and investing in the system to maximise his excellent husbandry skills which he has equipped from years of experience.
Craig said, “I’m so proud to see that people are recognising what we are doing to improve bird welfare in the UK and was thrilled to win this highly coveted award – it’s a real feather in my cap!”
There is a huge amount of conservation work that those working in the game industry undertake every day and these awards highlight the positive impact on wildlife, biodiversity, and countryside.
We can’t wait to celebrate the 2024 Conservation Champions Awards which will take place next spring - nominations will be opening soon.