After quite a few sleepless nights and some tense moments, most of our sheep have now given birth to their lambs, and we are catching up on our sleep.
Many of our lambs are born as singles, or twins, however we do get a few sets of triplets, which isn’t ideal. Sheep only have two teats, so when there are three lambs one always gets pushed out and it’s usually the smallest one. We like to foster such lambs onto a sheep that has either lost her lambs or has just had one and so has milk to spare. Our sheep are great mothers but are rather particular and will usually only let their own lambs suckle which can make fostering difficult. We have to have a few tricks up our sleeves to convince the sheep to take on the new lamb!
A sunny afternoon is the ideal chance to let them all out into the field for some fresh grass and chance for the lambs to run around as only lambs can. They form little gangs to have races up and down the field, much to the consternation of their mothers who are very protective and like to keep them close by.
Watching the lambs racing about in the sunshine makes you feel that spring may just be around the corner, or at least we hope so!
As we start the new year and the days are just beginning to lengthen, thoughts on the farm turn to new beginnings and in our case lambing time. The pregnant ewes are starting to look heavy with lambs although they are quite happy out in the fields all winter. In fact they don’t like being inside if they can help it and their amazing thick fleeces keep them nice and warm.
We do have to keep an eye on the weather though, because if it snows they can get buried in deeps drifts when they lie in the shelter of the field walls. If the forecast is bad we bring them close to home and give them extra hay to eat whilst the grass is covered over. There was a beautiful red sky this morning, which our shepherd wasn’t very happy about, but hopefully it’s just going to be wet and windy this time.
Lambing is due to start on Valentine’s day. It really isn’t my idea of a romantic night out: soft lighting in the lambing shed, helping to lamb a sheep, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The Tour de France may have come and gone, but we are delighted to say that cycling is here to stay in the Peak District!
The Peak District already has fantastic cycling routes on miles of traffic free trails and quiet country lanes. There really is no better way to take in the wonderful views, pretty villages, local history and great wildlife on offer.
There is an excellent choice of cycle hire at locations throughout the Peak District, including the Upper Derwent Valley, and the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails. All abilities and ages are catered for, with electric bikes, wheelchair cycles and buggies, so no one gets left behind!
Just this week, Derbyshire County Council have announced that planning applications have been submitted to extend the Monsal Trail from Bakewell through to Matlock. This is part of “Pedal Peak ll” an exciting £7.5m project to create four new routes for cyclists and walkers through the Peak District National Park.
We can’t wait to get on our bikes!!