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Sledmere House welcomes 10 new arrivals during lambing season

The first phase of the lambing season at Sledmere House’s Rare Breed Farm Park is complete after 10 Leicester Longwools were born over a busy four-day period.

The lambs will become part of Sledmere’s award-winning flock of Leicester Longwools and have become an immediate hit with visitors and social media followers alike alongside the Oxford Sandy & Black Pigs, shire horses and Golden Guernsey goats.

The January lambing is the first phase of the birthing season at Sledmere, with more sheep set to give birth around Eastertime, whilst piglets are expected around the same time.

A new shire foal and kid goats will follow later in the year.

The lambs born earlier this month, who are all set to be given a name beginning with the letter ‘H’, will be entered into various shows during the 2023 season, including Driffield, Great Yorkshire and Ryedale.

Laura Clark, who works in the Farm Park, said that the four days of lambing were the most straightforward she has been involved with in her time at Sledmere.

“Ten lambs in January is probably fewer than we are normally used to, especially from nine ewes,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of single lambs this year which from our point of view is brilliant as we are hoping to show them in the summer. A single lamb is generally bigger when it’s born.

“We’ve only had two sets of twins and lots of girls. We only have one boy and the rest are girls, which has never happened before.

“That will be interesting, as the boys tend to perform better at the shows, so it will be an additional challenge.

“The pressure is all on the boy but I’m sure we’ll be able to turn it around and do well with the girls.

“We’ve got some lovely lambs this year and the January season is probably the easiest one I’ve been involved with.

“All the births have been fairly straightforward. We only had one that was complicated, which was Connie’s twin girls.

“The lambs were coming out backwards and not dilating properly, which was a bit of a nightmare, but Rich, our stockman, came in and made it look easy.

Laura Clark and her dad Nigel with some of the new arrivals at Sledmere.

“The rest of them have been great, very quick and fairly stress-free. We do something called sponging so that it brings all the ewes into cycle at the same time.

“It means that the lambing isn’t drawn out over three or four weeks. We’ve done this for a few years but it has never been as quick as it has this year.

“All the lambs will be prepared for the show season. All the visitors come and say how cute they are, whereas I’m more cynical and look at them in terms of whether they will be up to showing standard.

“You have to start looking at it and think about what you will have and what you might not have.”

Laura and the team now have a few weeks off before the next set of lambs arrive, along with some piglets, ready for Sledmere House’s Lambing Time events.

These take place over the weekends of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th March and Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd April.

This will be an opportunity for visitors to meet all the new-borns and enjoy cuddles and feeds with the fluffy flock.

There will also be a chance to watch some live lambing, streamed straight from the main lambing sheds.
For more information, or to book tickets, visit www.sledmerehouse.com.

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