Hartpury students have been helping to welcome this year’s batch of spring lambs at their Okle Clifford farm.
The students are assisting 14 hours a day to look after over 400 North of England Mules. They have been lambing already for three weeks and even continued helping despite the snowy conditions. Water had to be ferried across site with tractors after Hartpury’s supply froze, and internal pens got very busy as it was too cold to put sheep outside.
140 students studying on a range of agriculture diplomas are currently helping to feed, water and bed the ewes and their newborn lambs. They have also been observing birthing, and assisting where necessary. The students are also helping to monitor the newborns’ progress after they’re placed in pens with their mothers. The ewes are set to continue giving birth over the next three weeks.
Ewes and their newborns will normally spend between 24 and 48 hours in the mothering pens. If everything is well they will then be turned out into the fields. Once the majority of the North of England Mules’ lambing is over, Hartpury’s 200 Easy Care ewes will begin lambing from mid-March, for six weeks.
Hartpury’s Farm Manager, Andrew Eastabrook, said: “This is always a busy part of the year for us so we’re grateful that we can rely on the students for help. It’s a brilliant way for them to learn; getting hands on with most aspects of the lambing process. Our staff have been brilliant as well in dealing with difficult weather conditions.”