EWE’LL LOVE IT!

FIND OUT HOW THE SPRING LAMBS ARE DO­ING

The Scarborough Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By Poppy Kennedy poppy. kennedy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Re­porterPoppy

Even­tu­ally the warmer spring weather is start­ing to show its face, and for farm­ers lamb­ing sea­son is com­ing to an end. Re­porter POPPY KENNEDY and photographer RICHARD PON­TER headed down to Hum­ble Bee Farm, near Flix­ton, to see how the new­born lambs are get­ting on.

J ust 30 min­utes be­fore we ar­rived on the vis­i­tor-friendly farm, a calf was born show­ing that the new life the sea­son brings is truly upon us.

Hum­ble Bee’s owner and only farmer John Percy Warters, also known as Farmer Percy, has been keep­ing a watch­ful eye on more than 80 sheep which have so far given birth to 120 lambs.

The farm has also wel­comed around 30 calves, with one be­ing born just 30 min­utes be­fore we ar­rived at the farm on Good Fri­day.

“I am very much hands on at the times of the births,” said John.

“I get the lo­cal vets to come out. In fact, we had a prob­lem yes­ter­day with the calv­ing so we got the lo­cal vets Cun­dall & Duffy to come out and give me a hand and ev­ery­thing went ab­so­lutely fine.”

He de­scribed car­ing for more than 100 lambs as like work­ing on a ma­ter­nity ward.

John ex­plains: “We can nor­mally plan to around two or three days when a lamb is likely to be born.

“They get on with it them­selves, but there’s a lot of them where they need some as­sis­tance.

“Some­times they come with a leg back or a head back but this time, touch wood, they’ve done re­ally well.”

In just one day this lamb­ing sea­son, 15 new­borns were wel­comed into the world – so it’s no easy task for the fam­ily-run farm.

Ded­i­cated John works seven days a week, ten hours a day start­ing his day be­fore many have be­gun to stir in bed.

“I love it, I wouldn’t do any­thing else,” says John with a huge, gen­uine smile plas­tered across his face.

“I don’t re­ally want any­one else help­ing. My son helps out and it’s a fam­ily busi­ness with ev­ery­one look­ing after dif­fer­ent parts.”

Hav­ing su­per­vised the births of more than 100 sheep, John knows ex­actly how to deal with dif­fi­cult births and make sure mother and child bond.

He said: “If you get a prob­lem with one lamb­ing you keep an eye on them for a day or two.

“You put them in a pen to mother up so they must be moth­ered up with the lambs – sheep can get mixed up.

“Some ewes like to try and pinch other lambs so they can soon get mixed up. They’re all in in­di­vid­ual pens to start with for three days.

“It’s al­most like a ma­ter­nity ward at a hos­pi­tal, it’s just the same sort of thing,

“You put them in and you feed them, make sure the ud­ders are right, make sure the lambs are clean and the navels are iodined – things like that.

“Then they’re turned out of the hos­pi­tal bed into the pens.”

Visi­tors are able to see the births first-hand and guests stay­ing at the farm have the best chance of see­ing new life com­ing into the world.

“We open the doors to the camp­site for lamb­ing time so ba­si­cally we’re full ev­ery week­end through March,” says John as he tends to the herd. “Ev­ery wig­wam and cot­tage and yurt is full be­cause it’s lamb­ing time – it’s a big hit.

“Even the weather has been against us this year but the peo­ple have come and en­joyed it.

“If there’s one lamb­ing, I’ll just say to guests ‘does

‘If you get a prob­lem with one lamb­ing you keep an eye on them for a day or two. You put them in a pen to mother up so they must be moth­ered up with the lambs sheep can eas­ily get mixed up. ‘

any­one want to lamb this ewe?’

And they’ll put their hand up and come down and lamb the ewe and they think it’s amaz­ing – it’s made their day.”

The lambs are re­leased with their moth­ers out into the open fields on the 320-acre farm be­fore they are sold when they reach be­tween 16 and 20 weeks.

“We have 80 breed­ing Texel ewes so we pro­duce about 120 lambs which we aim to sell at lo­cal live­stock mar­kets go­ing to the lo­cal butch­ers.

”Last year we got the cham­pi­onship for our spring lambs at Mal­ton Mar­ket and they were sold to B.W & D.J Glaves at Bromp­ton.”

The farm hosts a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the year like their 25 trails which take place through the sum­mer look­ing at the wildlife such as barn owls and bats.

John and his fam­ily are host­ing an open day with ev­ery­thing from sheep shear­ing to bouncy cas­tles on Sun­day June 24.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the farm visit www. hum­ble­bee­farm.co.uk

Farmer John Warters with his lambs and sheep at the farm . Pic­ture Richard Pon­ter 181255b

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