Farmers' thoughts turn to lambing
WITH lambing season well underway dale farmers’ greatest fears are spells of cold wet weather and the threat of dogs worrying sheep.
Lambing for Stephen and Alison Lamb at Doe Park, near Cotherstone, began on February 26 and so far about 115 of their 270 strong flock have given birth.
Their chief concern, following relentless rain and snow during the past few weeks, is the state of their fields which they described as “horrendous”.
Mrs Lamb, whose flock is comprised of Texel and Mule ewes, said: “Lambs can stand the cold, but they can’t stand the wet-cold.”
She added that ewes stressed by wet and cold can stop producing milk, compounding the problem.
She said: “We have lost the odd ones, but that is normal and not related to the weather.”
New-born lambs are generally kept indoors for about three days before they are let out into the fields.
Although warmer and drier weather is predicted for the coming days, the couple are well stocked up with plastic coats to keep the lambs warm and dry should it take a turn for the worse.
Another worry is dog walkers who do not keep control of their animals.
Mrs Lamb said: “A lot of places are having problems with sheep worrying but we haven’t had any.
“We are very fortunate that people locally and our guests [at the caravan site] are very good about keeping their dogs on a leash.
“Many of our guests do have dogs and we give them advice about where they can exercise their dogs off the leash. “We also have good guidance from the NFU (National Farmers Union) all about being respectful to the farming landscape, which is on display on the notice board.”
Although many farmers like to get their lambing done quickly over a short period, Doe Park does things a little differently and it is expected to continue for about three more weeks.
Mrs Lamb said: “We tend to spread it out because there is not much help.”
A significant concern for the Lambs is the impact of the coronavirus on their caravan park business and they are waiting on advice from the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, particularly regarding people who self-isolate on site.
They are also worried that people may put off taking holidays this summer.
Mrs Lamb said: “Having said that we received six bookings this morning.
“We are business as usual and we will follow the guidelines until we are told otherwise.”
They have also made a service available where guests, who do not want face-to-face contact, can make payments over the phone.