THE LAMBING season has come early to a Pennine farm, where the mild weather has brought out the spring flock four months ahead of schedule.
Smallholders Peter Crook and Tricia Stewart saw their first arrivals on Monday - the last day of October - with four more births since.
The pair have been keeping the rare Soay breed for 18 years on their 15-acre farm at Holmfirth, and say the new lambs arrived without warning.
Ms Stewart said: “For the past five days we have been going up to the field and there has been a new lamb there. They have been OK because it’s dry, but they don’t fare so well if it’s cold.”
Mr Crook added: “I don’t know why this has happened. We have both been poorly and we haven’t lambed for a couple of years, and maybe that’s set their cycle off.”
Soays are descended from a population of feral sheep on the St Kilda islands, off western Scotland. Ruth Dalton, of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, said: “Soays are one of our most primitive sheep breeds, being quite closely related to wild sheep, so it is really very unusual for them to lamb out of season.
“However, with fewer than 1,500 registered breeding ewes, every lamb is welcome.”