Cannon Hall in South Yorkshire celebrates 'surprise' new arrival on the farm

Nestled in a pile of hay a surprise new arrival is settling in at Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley.

Dancer, the reindeer who swapped the rolling hills of Ireland for pastures new in Cawthorne near Barnsley in December 2020, has given birth to the first baby reindeer at the farm - extending the deer family to five.

The pair are living happily together in an open stable next to Blossom the shire horse, on the farm, which has been open to the public for more than 30 years.

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Also at Cannon Hall, which has broadcast live every day, of every lock down since last year, are three male reindeer - Prince and Jeffrey, who arrived three years ago. Dasher, arrived last year with Dancer from Phil's Farm in Ireland.

The currently unnamed new arrival was introduced to the public for the first time yesterday as Dancer, the only female reindeer at the farm, proudly walked her new baby up to the fence to ‘show him off’ after giving birth on the weekend.

Robert Nicholson, 53, who runs the farm with his two brothers David and Richard alongside their 77-year-old father Roger, and mother Cynthia, said he was “relieved” the birth went smoothly as they only recently confirmed Dancer was pregnant.

“It is the first reindeer we have ever had born at the farm and it was a truly magical moment. Dancer thankfully didn’t need any help from us at all," Mr Nicholson said.

Pictured, Dancer the reindeer and her new baby. Photo credit: Cannon Hall Farm

Nicky Hyde, the marketing manager for Cannon Hall Farm, added: "It was a lovely surprise - we were all absolutely overjoyed."

Cannon Hall confirmed to The Yorkshire Post they are “open” to naming suggestions for the baby reindeer via their social media channels.

Mr Nicholson said: "The pressure is now on to find a suitable name for her son, who might one day end up pulling Santa’s sleigh too."

The new arrival comes as this time of year sees the peak lambing season almost at an end for the farm after they faced an "extremely busy" workload.

Pictured Farmers David (left) and Robert Nicholson, with Dancer and her baby at Cannon Hall. Name suggestions for the baby reindeer can be submitted to the farm via social media. Photo credit: Cannon Hall Farm

Cannon Hall has seen a total of 800 lambs born thanks to 450 ewes, with 10 more left to give birth.

The 125-acre farm will be brimming with more new births soon including more than 100 baby goats, an increase on last year due to the majority of the 35 doe expected triplets or quadruplets, with kidding expected to start in June.

While there are also new piglets, foals and alpacas and Shetland ponies that are due any time, alongside a couple of pregnant highland cattle.

Cannon Hall also has the new addition of four mongoose while in June a brand new dog friendly cafe - three times as big as the old one, will open.

And in July their newest animal arrivals - three female miniature donkeys are expecting to give birth.

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