Lambing Season at The Ickworth
Lamb are one of the earliest signs that spring has arrived - and the lambing season is now underway at Ickworth Estate, home to our Ickworth Hotel, with the farmers there anticipating the arrival of more than 1,000 lambs. Go for a family walk and see how many you can count - you may be lucky and see some of them take their first steps in the park.
10 Facts about Sheep and Lambing
• The traditional lambing season starts in early spring but some farmers begin as early as December, others in April.
• Tupping (mating) takes place in autumn, with lambs born around 145 days later.
• Ewes can give birth to up to five lambs, although the average is between one and two per ewe.
• Some ewes deliver very easily, alone in the field or the lambing shed; others, especially first-time mums, need help from farmers or shepherds, who have to be on hand all day and night.
• Giving lambs a gentle swing helps to open their airways.
• Farmer like lambs to get straight up and attach themselves to the teat in order to start benefitting from their mother's milk.
• Ewes only have two teats, so if one of them has more than two lambs, farmers will try to get another ewe to adopt one of them.
• When the farmer is satisfied the lambs are feeding well, they are let out into a field so the ewes can graze on spring grass.
• Around 32 million sheep graze fields in the UK, from more than 60 different breeds.
• Sheep were first domesticated 10,000 years ago, in Central Asia, and raising sheep is the oldest organised industry.
See the National Trust Ickworth Facebook page for updates on expected arrivals and read more about things to do on the Ickworth Estate. They include Easter children's craft activities and games in our own crèche, along with outdoor Easter egg hunts, den-building and nature detective activities using adventure scrapbooks and backpacks.
Image copyright: National Trust Ickworth.