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, 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.
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.
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.
At Wimpole we have Norfolk Horn, Hebridean, Whitefaced Woodland, Portland, Manx Loaghtan, and Oxford Down flocks.