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Our own ewes have not delivered their lambs yet, but today we welcomed two new “orphan lambs” to the farm, Bo and Belle from a farm in Norfolk. The two lambs are Texel crosses and are are not orphans per se, but rather the result of triplets or other multiple births. Ewes struggle to raise more than two lambs at once, so additional bottlefeeding is required to keep them healthy. We’ll be helping to raise Bo and Belle for the next few months and you’ll be amazed by how quickly they grow! The lambs were only born on Monday (March 23rd), so they’re still a bit shaky on their hooves, but will grow in confidence and mischief with each passing day! Come visit them in Pets Corner!

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The first of our 2014 lambs were born yesterday!

Yesterday saw the arrival of the first of 2014 lambs!

Yesterday was a busy day on the farm, marking the arrival of four new lambs to Mudchute! One pair were expected, while the other arrived over a week before they were due. There are always surprises in the lambing shed and we’re delighted to report that they are happy and healthy, as is mum.

Meet our new orphan lambs.

Meet our new orphan lambs.


Two of our new lambs are ‘orphans’ from another farm that we will be rearing over the coming months. Just a few days old, these two Texel cross lambs have either been rejected by their mothers or were born as triplets (or sometimes quadruplets!). If a ewe produces more lambs than she can provide milk for, some of the lambs are removed to be bottlefed or adopted by other sheep. Rearing lambs by bottlefeeding is time consuming work as the lambs require milk throughout the day and night. A big thank you to our dedicated farm team who are working around the clock to care for our adorable new additions!

bonnietwinsThey were joined on the farm by a pair of Oxford Down twins, who arrived over a week early. Despite their early arrival, the twins (one boy and one girl) are a good size and were delivered by their mum without difficulty. Welcome to the world little lambs and congratulations mum!

The new lambs are the first of several newborns expected over the coming weeks and the long shifts and night checks have begun. Thank you to our farm staff for pulling together at such a busy time!

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as they are joined by more new arrivals, so watch this space!

Just a few hours old!

Just a few hours old!

Farmer Christy tending the new lambs.

Farmer Christy tending the new lambs.

Ensuring the lambs get the antibody rich first milk (colostrum).

Ensuring the lambs get the antibody rich first milk r colostrum.

The newborn lambs are up on their feet in no time at all!

The newborn lambs are up on their feet in no time at all!

The new lambs are now nursing well.

The new lambs are now nursing well.

The new twins.

The new twins.

Sundae treating the lambs' umbilical cords with iodine to prevent infection.

Sundae treating the lambs’ umbilical cords with iodine to prevent infection.

A proud Bonnie!

A proud Bonnie!

The girls in the maternity ward.

The girls in the maternity ward, more lambs should be on their way soon!


Last week we welcomed a quartet of orphan lambs to our flock. The new additions are triplets from Seabrook Farms in Suffolk, whose flock graze on the National Trust run estate of Ickworth.

Ickworth

The National Trust’s Ickworth Park. Photo by Andrew Butler.

Unlike the rest of our flock which are composed of native and rare breeds, the new lambs are commercial mixed breeds (mules), sired by Texel rams with either Suffolk crossed ewes or North Country Mules as their mothers. The Texel breed originates from the island of Texel in the Netherlands and these sheep are well muscled, producing lean lambs. North of England Mules are crosses between traditional ‘mules’ (the result of breeding lowland rams and upland or hill ewes) and Swaledale ewes.

Breeds of Sheep

Our lambs can trace their ancestry to the Swaledale, Texel and Suffolk breeds. Photos by David Illiff, Evelyn Simak and J Gareth P.

The four lambs we have taken on are one girl (the largest white lamb) and three boys and all are triplets. When a ewe gives birth to three or more lambs, she is typically unable to supply enough milk to raise all three on her own. Farmers may be able to adopt the extra lamb onto a ewe who has had a single lamb or lost a lamb, or in this case, choose to rear the lambs by bottlefeeding. We are helping to raise the foursome for the next few months and it will be incredible to watch them grow from little lambs to proper sheep! More photos on the next page! Continue reading