Lambing season has visitors flocking
Simon ParkinLambs - cute, cuddly and coming to a farm near you. As farmers have their hands full dealing with spring newborns, you can see this marvel up close too. SIMON PARKIN previews where to visit.Simon Parkin
Lambs - cute, cuddly and coming to a farm near you. As farmers have their hands full dealing with spring newborns, you can see this marvel up close too. SIMON PARKIN previews where to visit.
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It is the time of year which makes a visit to the farm a little bit more exciting as bouncy, hungry lambs are eager to see new visitors and especially on farms where visitors can help to bottle feed the little animals.
Frolicking newborn lambs are actually born throughout the year, but the majority arrive in the lambing season from late February to April, when the weather is getting warmer, the grass starting to grow.
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The lambing season is always one of the busiest in the farming calendar. Farmers need to be on call 24 hours a day to make sure the sheep are well looked after. However, it is also one of the most satisfying times of the year and is an enjoyable yet educational event for children to experience.
There are several farms across the region that welcome visitors, at which you can, as well as meeting the lambs, often feed them and enjoy a range of other activities that truly prove spring is in the air.
WROXHAM BARNS AND JUNIOR FARM
Wroxham Barns, Hoveton. Open daily 10am-5pm. Admission to Wroxham Barns is free, but entry to Junior Farm �3.95, under-3s free. More details: 01603 783911, www.wroxhambarns.co.uk
Sit on the bales of hay, get your bottle of warm milk at the ready and watch as the baby lambs are led to the bottles and guzzle away. This is a hands-on experience not to be missed and it takes place on the farm three times a day.
Lamb feeding takes place at 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm and some feeding times can be busy so children might have to share holding a bottle.
Wroxham Barns' lambs are all the smallest of triplets from local farms and will consume more than 5,000 litres of milk during the bottle-feeding season up to the end of July. Ewes find it difficult to look after triplets, so visitors who feed the lambs are helping out as surrogate mums.
You can also pitch in feeding guinea pigs, rabbits and pygmy goats plus ducks and geese on the pond; take part in the pony grooming session and watch the farm staff feed the friendly pigs.
All the activities are fully supervised by experienced staff, and there are good hand washing facilities for cleaning up thoroughly during visits.
WIMPOLE HOME FARM
Wimpole Hall, Arrington, Royston, Cambridgeshire. Until February 24, 11am-4pm Mon-Wed and Sat/Sun. From February 27, 10.30am-5pm daily. You pay separately for the farm which costs adults �7.30, child �4.95 and family ticket (two adults, three children) �22.50. More details: 01223 206000, www.wimpole.org
It isn't quite time for the newborn lambs to arrive on the farm at Wimpole Home Farm but it is worth making a note in your diary for the unmissable lambing days at the estate farm.
Lambing takes place between March 13 to March 31. If you visit the farm during these times you may get the chance to witness the birth and if not you will certainly see lambs in their first few hours of life.
Most of the sheep on the National Trust farm are rare breeds. There are ten different breeds altogether these include Portland's, Manx Logthan, Hebridean, Soays and Norfolk Horns to name a few.
Most ewes lie down to give birth and then stand up almost immediately in order to turn around to get to their newly born lamb. After
the birth, the lambs and their mother are left for a time to form a close bond and when this has taken place the ewe and lambs are moved into an individual pen for 24 hours to make sure they all settle down together.
Snettisham Park, Snettisham. Open daily from 10am-5pm. Adults �6.50 (�5.60 cons), children (3-16) �5.50, under-3s free, family ticket (two adults up to three children) �22. More details: 01485 542425, ww.snettishampark.co.uk
Spring has most definitely sprung in the shape of a batch of new baby lambs down on the farm at Snettisham Park. Help feed the hungry arrivals as well as, if you're lucky, catching a glimpse of a lamb being born.
As well as bottle feeding the lambs can also cuddle the rabbits and the guinea pigs and then take a walk through the farm, meeting Libby the pig as well as Inky the Llama on the way. Children will also love the huge adventure playground to run around as well as the sit and ride tractors for little ones to enjoy.
MELSOP FARM PARK
Ellingham Road, Scoulton, near Watton. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mon. Adults �6 (�5 cons), children �5, under 3s free. More details: 01953 851943, ww.melsopfarmpark.co.uk
There are lots of babies to coo over at Melsop this time of year including the cute and adorable lambs and visitors can get close to the little bundles on this friendly farm.
As well as the lambs, visitors you can also meet many other residents on the farm including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. Down on the duck pond you can take a look at the colourful runner ducks and the large Toulouse Geese.
And children can let off steam on the indoor and outdoor play areas where they can climb, jump, bounce and dive into ball pools until its time to go home.
EASTON FARM PARK
Easton, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Adults �7.25 (�6.25 cons), children �6, Noah's Ark ticket (two adults and two children) �25. More details: 01728 746475, ww.eastonfarmpark.co.uk
Though it isn't quite ready to welcome visitors, it is worth noting when the gates will open for Easton Farm Park next month it is well worth a visit.
Already some of the animals were confused by the warm spell and have already been producing. The farm has some lovely pygmy kid goats, a litter of piglets, and some young lambs that need bottle feeding.
The lambs are just one of the main features on the farm at this time of year and they could be upstaged by Bruce, a lovely new black calf, who was born very recently.
There is plenty to do and its worth the short trip from Norwich.