Conservation herd short of winter feed after theft
VOLUNTEERS were left shocked when hundreds of pounds of hay meant for La Societe Guernesiaise’s conservation herd was stolen from a Castel field.
The herd is made up of steers which are used to graze land naturally in the summer to create better wildlife habitats, but in the winter they need extra feed.
More than 20 bales were being kept in Home Farm field, next to Saumarez Park, but eight went missing between 5 and 6 February.
Section secretary Julia Henney was shocked when she realised they were missing.
‘We could not really believe it,’ she said.
‘We are really hoping it was a mistake. It’s Guernsey – this sort of thing doesn’t happen.’
The field was secured with a combination lock, but the gate could have been taken off its hinges to gain access.
But even then the bales would not have been easy to move.
‘They are very heavy,’ Miss Henney said.
‘It takes two people to roll one, so someone must have had a tractor or trailer.’
During the winter the grass does not grow as fast, so a new field of grass lasts only a few days for the steers. That makes having a supply of hay very important.
The steers will not be going back onto their normal grazing sites until the weather improves. Last year that was in early April, so the feed needs to last until then. The animals get through about two bales a week.
‘We have some hay left and we are hoping they don’t eat too quickly,’ Miss Henney said. ‘We might just make it through, but we have lost our buffer.’
Each hay bale would cost at least £50 to replace, which would be a challenge for the volunteers who look after the herd.
The bales were wrapped in black plastic and bore a green sticker.
Miss Henney said the hay inside was very distinctive because it was cut from orchid fields.
‘It contains lots of things farmers might call weeds, like water mint and lots of wild flowers,’ she said. ‘If someone opens it, it does not look like normal hay.’
She said what was important to them was that they got the hay back.
Anyone who knows where it is can get in touch via the La Societe Conservation Herd Facebook page.
n Guernsey Police are investigating and anyone who knows anything about the theft is asked to contact PC 137 Drummy on 725111 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.