According to shooting insiders the cost of putting out partridge must rise this year due to Avian Flu in France restricting the egg imports. The news could affect not just shoots but the availability of partridge on menus this autumn.
Gamekeeper John Queen of Linhope Estate in Northumberland explained that partridge egg prices could be exorbitant this summer.
“The bird flu in France is going to cause havoc. Every commercial bird within a 10 mile radius of affected farms In France will be slaughtered and that is going to have a real effect. I’m hearing numbers like 25% down this year – and that’s just eggs. Taken across the UK shooting industry and that’s significant.
“Eggs are available from Spain but where a partridge egg was costing in the region of £0.50 from France – a Spanish partridge egg is costing upwards of £3. That’s not sustainable and will mean that less days of shooting are available.”
Grouse, however, as things stand, look set for a bumper year.
“Compared to last year it’s a different story,” Queen explained. “The heather is growing nicely – in fact it’s growing too well. The birds are in great shape and if this continues into the breeding season then we should see plenty come the summer.”