March 11 2014 Latest news:
Victoria Leggett, Education correspondent
Monday, March 4, 2013
Thousands of people who flocked to Easton College this weekend were greeted by more than 100 lambs – some just a few hours old.
The lambing weekend at the site, near Norwich, came during what was expected to be the busiest week of the season, which began three weeks ago.
Having attracted 3,000 visitors in 2012, this year’s event pulled in over 4,000 people.
Families piled onto the tractor rides and learned about, and met, some of the many animals reared at the college farm from Highland cattle to pigs, sheep and horses. The lambs were the stars of the show on Saturday and yesterday, with many just hours old having been born during the weekend.
David Howlett, farm manager, said he expected the college to have welcomed between 180 and 200 lambs – averaging two per ewe – by the end of the season in about three weeks’ time. He said: “We’ve had no problems at all so far. The sheep are in really good condition and it’s going really well. Now we just need some warm weather to get the grass growing.”
The stables – housing horses including Tic-Tac and Minty – proved popular with families as did the hatching turkey chicks brought along by representatives of Bernard Matthews and Simon the tiny orphan Highland calf.
Children’s craft activities, a barbecue, and a tractor that youngsters could climb on, also kept visitors busy.
Martyn Davey, director of lamb-based curriculum at the college, said it was the fourth time the lambing weekend had taken place. It aims to educate families about both the animals and the work of the college and its students.
Mr Davey said: “This is an opportunity for us to promote the college to a range of people who don’t know we’re here. It’s still one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets.”
Visitors aged five and over were asked to pay £1 to see the animals with the money put back into the farm facilities.
Previous events have helped to fund new hand-washing facilities, and pens for the sheep and calves.