Lambing time in the East of England
Nothing says it's spring, quite like the arrival of lambs. Lambing is a busy time of year for our farmers, with long hours of work ensuring their new flock is safely delivered and special care lavished on the expectant ewes.
Wimpole is one of the largest rare breed farms in the UK, and most of the animals under the care Farm Manager, Callum Weir and his team are those which are at risk of disappearing if we don’t work to look after them. Each year, many of you will come to see the new lambs frolicking in the fields, being fed or even being born, and by doing that you’re helping us to conserve rare and traditional breeds of livestock.
How many lambs are we expecting this year?
With around 300 ewes pregnant, we’d expect to see around 600 lambs this spring at Wimpole, with one or two lambs born to each ewe. Some breeds of sheep can have up to three lambs each, but that’s the difference between those that are chosen by commercial farms and the rare breeds we have here.
With a gestation period of 152 days, we're able to accurately predict when the first lambs will start to arrive too. Animals generally stick to their due dates better than humans do, so they are pretty predictable.
" The lambing season is a firm fixture in many families’ calendars. We feel its really important that people know where their food comes from and that’s why it's important we open our doors to visitors."
A farm for rare breeds
Breeds are considered to become ‘rare’ when their population falls to around 1,000 – so some of the animals at Wimpole may not look quite the same as those you’re more used to seeing. However, they have exceptionally long histories in the UK.
Today, most British livestock is dominated by very few different breeds, and this makes it even more important for us to protect the rare breeds at Wimpole.
This is not only important in terms of preserving the breeds’ heritage and acknowledging their part in our history, but to retain diversity – the more homogenous the general population of a type of animal becomes, the more crucial it is to keep those breeds with different characteristics and genetic makeup.
So when you come to see the lambs this year, take a moment to appreciate just how special they and the other animals at Wimpole really are. Look out for our Norfolk Horn, Hebridean, Whitefaced Woodland, Portland, Manx Loaghtan, and Oxford Down flocks.
When you meet the new arrivals, you're helping to protect rare breeds
Thanks to you, when you join, donate, visit or volunteer, your support helps us to look after special places for ever, for everyone.