Housing and Feeding
The Ashford Valley Hounds have been housed in their present purpose built kennels since 1953. The kennels are divided into yards (areas) with adjoining doors for ease of movement.
The pack is divided into dog hounds and bitches in separate yards with the puppies being housed in the third yard. Each yard has an outside area for the hounds to exercise and an inside area which is called a lodge; where the hounds sleep. The hounds sleep on raised beds covered with straw. In addition to the main kennel yards there is housing for in-season bitches (hot bitches) and for bitches to whelp. (give birth)
The hounds are fed in the feed yard every morning after exercise. For many years the Ashford Valley Tickham Hounds feed came in the form of pies surplus from the factory but unfortunately we are no longer able to get them. Hounds are now fed on fallen stock from a local supplier.
Fallen stock is the name given to animals from farms and stables that for many reasons have to be put down. Farmers and equestrian centres pay a small fee for the service which is humane and less distressing than removing animals to the slaughterhouse. The process is carried out on the owners property.
On a hunting day, only the rest hounds, which include sick hounds and hot bitches, are fed. The hunting pack are fed on their return to kennels.
On their return to kennels, the hunting pack are fed, checked over and injuries dealt with before being left to settle in the lodge on a clean bed of straw. The hunting pack is divided next morning before returning to their appropriate yards; dogs and bitches.