Driffield News

Meet the new arrivals on the farm at Sledmere House

The lambing season is well underway at Sledmere House’s Rare Breed Conservation Farm Park, where over a dozen Leicester Longwools have been born since the turn of the year.


Sledmere’s award-winning flock are at the forefront of the farm park’s rare breed programme, which also includes Oxford Sandy & Black pigs, shire horses and Golden Guernsey goats.


Although it might seem early for the lambing season to start, it’s all part of a plan for Sledmere’s latest offspring to enter sheep classes at a variety of shows during the summer months.

In March, we’ve got another four ewes due and then a further one in April. It seems very spread out this year – there are babies popping out all over the place!

LAURA CLARK, FARM PARK MANAGER


At the time of going to press, 16 lambs were happily playing around, entertaining visitors in their pen, and more are on the way during February and March.


Laura Clark, farm park manager at Sledmere House, told the Wolds Weekly that aside from one scare, lambing has been a relatively stress-free process so far in 2022, hopefully producing some award-winning animals later in the year.


“Eleven ewes have given birth so far, with one more due at the beginning of February,” said Laura.


“Currently, we’ve got around 16 lambs, with many of the ewes having single births this year.

The new arrivals are proving popular with visitors to Sledmere.


“Normally, we have had more twins, but singles are good for us at this time of year as we want them to grow and become our show stock later in the year.


“A single lamb, is likely to be bigger, as opposed to twins or triplets.


“In March, we’ve got another four ewes due and then a further one in April. It seems very spread out this year – there are babies popping out all over the place!


“I’ve been quite lucky this year that not many of the ewes have lambed during the night.


“Instead, I’ve been coming up every couple of hours to check them over. Generally, we try and leave the ewes to it, unless we discover that something is going wrong.


“There was one tricky birth. When I arrived at 11 o’clock, I didn’t realise that the ewe was lambing as she was laid quietly.


“However, I then spotted a little nose peeking out and the lamb had got well and truly stuck, wasn’t breathing and his tongue was sticking out.


“But I managed to save him and he’s huge, probably our biggest.


“We’ll be looking to put all the lambs out on some good grass when they’re ready, to make sure they are big and strong and we should have a full calendar this year.


“It’s our year to go to Yorkshire Show and before that, we’ll start with Malton Show.


“After Yorkshire Show, we move onto Driffield, Ryedale, Thornton le Dale and then Masham Sheep Fair.


“Hopefully we’ll be able to come home with some awards again but there are some very good-quality Leicester Longwools around now and it’s not as easy as when we started.”


Athough all the lambs have been receiving ample amounts of attention from visitors and staff alike, there are plenty of other new arrivals due at Sledmere soon.


Elsewhere on the farm park, piglets are due to be born at Eastertime, kid goats in summer, and Julie, one of Sledmere’s shire horses is to foal in May.


It means there will be plenty of baby animals for visitors to go along and see over the next few months, with the lambs already increasing numbers through the gate.


“There aren’t too many gaps in the calendar in terms of births, but hopefully it will all go well, and we can enjoy them,” said Laura.


“We’ve been busy with visitors who have come along to see the lambs. The weather has been fairly decent, so that’s helping, and the lambs are doing a good job of bringing people in.”

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