An unseasonably cold March has brought difficulties and added obstacles for those sheep farmers who are in the midsts of lambing season.
While Bridlington sheep farmer Richard Towse, 55, said he cannot claim the situation to be as bad as that being experienced by hill farmers in North Yorkshire who have been contending with heavy snow, he admits the weather has proved challenging.
Tenant farmer Richard, who took on the running of County Farm, on Scarborough Road from his father Harry Towse, has welcomed the arrival of 180 lambs so far since his lambing season started on March 27.
And his wife Elaine Towse, 54, has been kept busy giving 34 bottles a day to the newborn lambs- and they are only half way through the season.
Richard jokingly said: “She says at least she’s not having to breast feed them.”
But what is an intense job has been made all the more difficult by the weather which has changed the way the lambs are being housed and fed.
Richard said: “The weather has made things quite difficult. I can’t claim it to be anything as bad as some of these people up on the hills being buried under snow but the fact that we have had these cold easterly winds for so long means we’re having to feed them a bit better than usual to compensate.
“Most of the land we keep the sheep on is summer grazing from April onwards. Once they have lambed we usually get them turned out onto the land but we are having to keep most of them in the sheds not only to keep them warm but also because there’s no actual grass to turn them out onto, nothing has moved.”
“And there have been increased feeding costs for us this time,” he added.
Richard, who hails from a family of life-long shepherds, does not employ any full-time staff at the farm but they do have seasonal help from volunteers, some of whom are doing courses in animal studies, and are looking for work experience.
“All we do for a three week period is work and sleep. You have got to love the job,” he added.