More than 300 lambs are ushering in Spring at Hartpury College during a particularly difficult lambing season.
Around 200 ewes have already given birth – the majority to twins or triplets – but have been forced to stay indoors longer than usual due to the adverse weather conditions.
Some of the triplets have only recently made their way out into the Spring sunshine after 10 days indoors when the usual stay is around 24 to 36 hours before they are moved.
The lambing season provides Hartpury’s agriculture students with invaluable hands-on experience. New students are paired up with students who have previous lambing experience to help the farm staff through the process from start to finish.
The pairs work in six-hour shifts to undertake ‘lambing duties’. The shifts are on a continuous 24-hour loop during the season, with the students working from 12am to 6am, 6am to12pm, 12pm to 6pm or 6pm to 12am on a regular basis.
Hartpury’s Head of Agriculture, Janatha Stout, said: “These duties can vary from assisting with the ewes giving birth if necessary to putting ewes and their newborn lambs into pens to ensure mothering takes place, which is particularly important with the younger ewes.”
All students have access to members of staff, either working with them or on the phone during their shifts to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
The college has around another 100 ewes to lamb indoors in the next week before starting all over again with a round of lambing outdoors from the beginning of April.