Despite the weather being on our side lambing hasn't been without its challenges - Jill Thorp

Following another good week of lambing we’re almost through the first batch of ewes.

Lambing continues at Stott Hall Farm

They’re slowly returning to the land at Farnley with their offspring in tow, desperate for better quality grass.

The hill sheep are due next week and will soon be brought down off the slopes and into the lambing fields near the house. Somewhat more flighty than our docile Farnley sheep, they take quite a bit of catching and usually do better left well alone.

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My two Welsh Mountain ponies, Fioled and Anwen, are still hanging on to their foals, leaving me exhausted from the constant out of hours check-ups! It will be a first for us at Stott Hall to have mares and foals in amongst our ewes and lambs!

Despite the weather being on our side, lambing time hasn’t been without its challenges. We’ve had some huge lambs this time that have needed help bringing into the world. The winter feeding of our ewes is always a fine line between too much resulting in lambs so big the ewes can’t part with them, and too little leaving the ewes short of essential nutrients.

Mild winters, no real hard frosts or prolonged period of dormancy for the grass is certainly having a knock-on effect, leaving us rethinking our feeding programmes. Unfortunately for my Mountain ponies, these mild winters can be quite detrimental.

Having the ability to thrive on thin air, a harsh winter is essential as it strips away the fat they have gained during the summer months.

Worryingly, two have succumbed to a bout of laminitis, an extremely painful and debilitating condition. It proved a slow process moving them from the field back to the stables where hopefully the vet and farrier can alleviate the pain.

After weeks of scolding John-William for his endless stuntman antics, including climbing absolutely anything that’s high and dangerous, he’s finally realised he’s not invincible! Whilst loading a ewe and her lamb onto the small quad bike trailer, he got hit on the head by the gate as it swung round.

Although he said it didn’t hurt much, the copious stream of blood, gushing down his face from a deep gash on his forehead, certainly grounded him. The tears soon flowed, equally as freely as the blood, as the realisation of a possible trip to A&E loomed large in his thoughts.

By the time he arrived back in the yard, the shirt his desperately worried Uncle Casey had taken off and used to stem the flow of blood was soaked. I attended to his wound whilst Paul sought advice via the NHS helpline. We all agreed hospital was the last place we wanted to be and so patched him back together with steri strips and a large dressing.

There was a brief discussion about the use of Engemycin, an antibacterial spray we use on the sheep, between Paul and his brother, but a quick stoney glare from me soon put paid to that idea. Thankfully, he’s on the mend and will soon be proudly showing off his Harry Potter scar.

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