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Video and photo gallery: Lambing season officially begins in Norfolk

11:31 21 February 2014

New born lambs at Church Farm, Stow Bardolph. Picture: Ian Burt

New born lambs at Church Farm, Stow Bardolph. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Spring seems to be round the corner with the arrival of these cute, bouncy lambs.

Although lambs are born throughout the year, most tend to be born during February and April.

And at Church Farm rare breeds centre in Stow Bardolph, near Downham Market, lambing season has officially begun.

Visitors have been excited to see the newborns and have been helping to bottle feed them.

Kate Farr, 20, assistant manager, said: “Visitors enjoy seeing the lambs. They haven’t got any names yet, but the public usually name them.

“The children especially love to give them a name.”

The lambing season is always one of the busiest in the farming calendar, and farmers need to be on call 24 hours a day to make sure the sheep are well looked after.

The main pen at Church Farm holds 12 lambs brought in from local commercial farmers.

Six of them are two weeks old, and the others are aged just one week. They have a heated lamp and plenty of hay to keep them warm.

Miss Farr said: “These lambs are brought in if their mother died during birth, or if she gave birth to too many.

“So we hand-rear them, we bottle feed once in the morning, once in the evening and then the public can help to feed them four times during the day.”

As Miss Farr stepped over the hay into the pen, the lambs hurried towards her for their next feed.

Commercial lambs are hardier than rare breeds, so visitors get more of a chance to feed them.

In a smaller pen close by, there was a Norfolk Horn sheep that was recovering from a very traumatic birth.

Church Farm’s Kelly Parker, 42, said: “She eventually gave birth to triplets on February 15 but unfortunately lost one.”

As the ewe has gone through a very difficult time, staff and visitors are helping to feed the two remaining lambs.

Mrs Parker, who has worked at Church Farm for nine years, said: “The response from visitors has been really good. It has been great fun too.”

In a nearby outdoor pen, there were a few more pregnant Norfolk Horn sheep due to give birth.

Church Farm is a rare breeds farm that has six other breeds of sheep including Boreray and Hebridean.

Have you got an animal story? Email natalie.copeland@archant.co.uk

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