After a long winter and with spring just around the corner, it’s time to venture out into the great outdoors and re-connect with nature. Farm attractions all over the country are preparing for one of the busiest times of the year: lambing season. If you’re looking for a fun and educational day out for the whole family, then make sure to visit a farm attraction over February half term, Easter School Holidays or for a Lambing Weekend.
Lambs farm events can take many months of hard work and are a very busy time for farmers.
Read below our top 5 things farm attractions are doing to prepare ewes and to welcome healthy little lambs into the world.
1) Ensure ewes are in good health
For a successful lambs farm events, farm attractions must plan ahead to ensure that their ewes are happy and healthy. A pregnant ewe will have fat and muscle content of the sheep measured during pregnancy. Nutrition plays a big role in getting the expectant ewes ready.
From sunny Cornwall to London and as far north as the Scottish Highlands, February half term and Easter are one of the cutest times of the year for farm attractions across the UK. There is nothing better than seeing a lamb being born or watching a lamb take their first steps.
2) Provide the right nutrition
Just as you might start the new year with a healthy diet, ewes are provided with additional protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals to help promote lamb growth and milk production.
During lambs farm events, there’s nothing like hearing the lovely sound of new-born lambs bleating in the lamb nurseries. To ensure a healthy birth, it is very important to provide expectant mummy sheep and their little lambs with the right nutrition.
About six to eight weeks prior to lambing, all the ewes are scanned and split into those with single lambs, twin lambs, triplets and quads. The amount of food they eat will depend upon how big the lambs are. If you overfeed a mum with a single lamb, the lamb will be too big come labour. Whilst if you have quad lambs, you need to be really careful the ewe is getting enough nutrients. We can assure you, seeing a happy little lamb nestled up to mummy sheep is utterly adorable and farmers work really hard to care for these little bundles.
3) Stock up on supplies
For a successful lambs farm events, farm attractions will get prepared and stock up on the correct supplies. Many farmers have a checklist of supplies, which often include towels, disposable gloves, sheep marking sprays, iodine solution and antibiotics (similar to how expectant mums pack a hospital bag before giving birth).
4) Creating a perfect lambing environment
Many petting farms will lamb inside, enabling visitors to get a birds eye view of the action. The ewes will be together until the lambs are born and then moved to a separate pen to allow mums and babies to bond properly. It is lovely seeing how much care the mummy sheep take of their new lamb arrivals.
As sheep have only two teats they can only usually look after 2 lambs. Any additional lambs from triplet or quads are usually bottle fed or sometimes fostered onto a mum with a single lamb. New-born lambs need to be fed every 3-4 hours, meaning plenty of ongoing care for the farmers.
After a few days, the lambs and ewes are moved to the Lamb Nursery where you can see all the lambs bouncing around and chasing each other or cuddling up to mum for a little lamb nap.
5) Creating a perfect environment for visitors
At the National Farm Attraction Network, the association encourages all their members to follow the Code of Practice to keep staff, animals and visitors safe during lambs farm events.
Just like your dog and cat at home, every animal carries bacteria; some of which are harmful to visitors. The key message for visitors is to wash hands with hot water and soap after touching the animals, or if you have visited the lambing shed. Anti-bacterial gels and liquids are not a substitute for handwashing and will not destroy all bacteria from the lambing pens.
If you are pregnant, however, it is very important you do not touch lambs or visit the lambing area. Although rare, ewes can pass infections onto pregnant women including chlamydiosis. It is essential that if you’re pregnant, you are aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions.
The petting farm you visit will also make efforts to ensure you do not enter animal pens, in order to avoid contamination between visitors and animal poop. If any lambs are bought out to the public area, the floor and surfaces should be cleaned after the lamb returns to their enclosure, before the next group of visitors arrive.
Farm attractions following the Industry Code of Practice will frequently clean all areas and offer hot hand washing to avoid contamination. Members of the AAAS scheme are independently audited to ensure they adhere to the Code of Practice. Make sure to look out for the AAAS marker on this website.
To run lambing season and provide Lambs farm events, is more than a day job. With ewes giving birth 24/7, staff will often check on the pregnant mummy sheep throughout the night. Staff are also needed to not only help with the birthing of the lambs but also with feeding, bedding, and mucking out lambing pens. Farmers are very knowledgeable about all things lambing, so if you or your little ones have any questions, they’re definitely the ones to ask.
A petting farm enables you to get really close at this special time of year. We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see adorable new-born lambs over February Half Term, Easter or Lambing weekends.
Please keep an eye out as we will soon be publishing a blog on top lambing events for February half term to visit across the UK, followed by another top lambing event blog showcasing Easter Lambing.
Please Note: information included in this article is correct at time of publishing. Due to current government guidelines related to COVID-19 some attractions and facilities may differ. Please check each individual attractions website before you visit.