Lambing season begins at Church Farm Stow Bardolph Rare Breeds Centre
Hundreds of newborn lambs are expected to join the animal family at Church Farm Stow Bardolph Rare Breeds Centre over the next few months.
The farm, which saw its first new lamb born about two weeks ago, is anticipating a minimum of 200 newborns during the season, of a variety of different rare breeds.
Visitors to the farm are now invited to help bottle feed the orphan lambs.
Daniel Holliday, assistant livestock manager at Church Farm, said sometimes when a mother sheep has three lambs or more, the weaker lambs may not be able to compete with their siblings to get milk from their mother, who only has two teats.
In this situation, the farm will attempt to pair the lambs with a mother who may only have one lamb, but if it is not accepted by a mother, then they will be hand-reared.
Mr Holliday said: “It’s the last thing we want to do, it’s always better with a mummy sheep.”
Anyone hoping to see a lamb being born at the farm will have the most luck in the first few weeks of March.
Visitors are also invited to come up with suggestions for the lambs’ names – this year, they will be given names beginning with the letter I.
The rare breeds at Church Farm are Swiss Valais, Norfolk Horn, Greyface Dartmoor, Black Wensleydale, Whitefaced Woodland, Boreray, North Ronaldsay and Manx Loaghtan.
Bottle feeding takes place every day in the Show Yard from 10.30am to 11am, 12.30pm to 1pm, 2.30pm to 3pm and 4pm to 4.30pm.
The lambs will be fed at the start of each session, so visitors are advised to arrive on time.
The lambing season is expected to last until the beginning of May.