Driffield News

One in a million!

By James Richardson

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]On Tuesday 7th March, we told you the story of four lambs being born to one ewe at Manor House Farm in Brandesburton – a rare occurrence that takes place in just one out of 1,000 births.

However, not to be outdone, one of Sledmere House’s flock of 550 ewes went one better last Thursday morning when she gave birth to FIVE new-born Charollais cross-lambs, all of which survived, the chances of which are one in a million.

Head Stocksman, Richard Clifford, who oversaw the monumental birth, told the Wolds Weekly it was a huge shock to discover quintuplets in the Masham ewe’s womb, especially after a previous scan had detected just four.

“It’s extremely rare for a sheep to have five lambs. She was scanned for four lambs and when they were born on Thursday morning at quarter to six, we got an added extra, we got five. An added bonus really,” said Richard.

“I’ve been shepherding for around 30 years and it’s the first time I have seem five lambs born, with all of them surviving anyway.

“When I found the fifth lamb, I thought ‘oh my goodness’ really. It’s going to take some work to keep them all going but we’re used to it. They’re now just over 24 hours old and they are all looking alright.

“Lambs usually feed off their mum, but in this case, the mum cannot produce enough milk to feed five lambs because they are only used to feeding two. So, we are topping them up with additional milk to take a bit of pressure off the ewe. But everyone’s doing fine.

“There are two other farms I know of that have had five lambs, but none of which I have worked at.”

Would ewe believe it! Head Stocksman, Richard Clifford (right) and Bishop Burton College student Josh Buxton, proudly show off the five lambs.  ?Mike Hopps/Wolds Weekly


Richard’s right-hand man and Bishop Burton College student Josh Buxton has been gaining experience on the farm since October 2015 and he said the birth was a ‘special’ moment that will stick in his memory.

“I’ve been here for just over a year as part of my studies at Bishop Burton College,” explained Josh.

“I came to Sledmere for experience and I’ve been here ever since. I’m in the final year of my course and this is my second year of lambing.

“To see five lambs born to one ewe is great as I have never heard of it before, especially to see them all survive. You hear of quads, but even that’s rare. To get a set of five is quite special.”

The FIVE new-born Charollais cross-lambs, all of which survived, the chances of which are one in a million.     ?Mike Hopps/Wolds Weekly


The quintuple birth comes at a busy time for Richard and his staff which culminates with Sledmere House’s Lambing Weekend on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April  “We’re right in the middle of lambing at the moment. We’ve got 550 ewes to lamb, so we really are right in the thick of it,” said Richard.


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Sledmere House’s Lambing Weekend 2017

Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April 2017

Click here to visit the Sledmere House and Gardens Facebook page


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