Blenheim Palace is expecting a record number of twins this year! With over 3,000 lambs due arrive towards the end of April, visitors can see them gamboling about in the ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland on a special Lamb Buggy Tour beginning 22 April.
The 1550 ewes were scanned by two members of the Rural Team in February meaning that Estate Manager Roy Cox and Head Shepherd, Charles Gerring know they are expecting 253 singles, 1,129 sets of twins and 144 sets of triplets. The spring arrivals are thought to be arriving from 20 April.
The scans show an increase in twins expected by the Blenheim Palace ewes and a reduction in triplets, which is good news for shepherds and mums-to-be. Ewes who give birth to triplets usually have one of their three offspring taken away and given to another ewe so that they can cope with feeding.
Head Shepherd Charles Gerring says: “The estimated yield of lambs from our flock this spring is really pleasing. The increase in twins is fantastic, and always what we hope to achieve. With the reduction of triplets we won’t have as much worry with fostered lambs being rejected and ewes struggling to look after more than they can cope with.”
Visitors can learn about Blenheim Palace’s rich agri-history and discover more about the Estate farm on the Lamb Buggy Tours which will be running through the Park to the lambing fields set in the historic surrounds of the Grand Avenue.
The grassland within this World Heritage Site is an idyllic area for our extensive flock to graze throughout the year. We lamb outdoors in order to give lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need.
Blenheim Palace lambs later than many farms because their sheep are reared entirely on grass largely staying within the Park walls, keeping them as naturally healthy and organic as possible.
The sheep breeds which graze Blenheim Palace parkland are the Scotch Mule and Romney – according to Charles these sheep “Make the best lawnmowers!”.
The Estate team have put in place a careful health management programme for the 1,550 resident ewes, which has led to great lambing results over the last two years. After the lambing season the total number of sheep grazing Blenheim Palace rises to over 4,500 (1550 Ewes & 3000 Lambs).
Estate Manager Roy Cox says: “We have planted new herbal grass leys which have a mix of Chicory, Sainfoin (a traditional ‘super grass’ that lost favour to more vigorous rye grasses) and lots of other things that the sheep like. This has meant we could take the lambs off their mums earlier to give them a break. Also the weather was quite mild this winter, particularly at tupping – this meant we’ve had plenty of grass throughout the year.”
Visitors are asked to please refrain from approaching or touching the sheep and lambs whilst on this tour.
What: Lamb Buggy Tours at Blenheim Palace
Why Visit: See lambs full of the joys of spring frolicking upon the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland at Blenheim Palace
When: Daily from 22nd April – 3rd June
Admission: Park & Gardens Ticket + Price: £3.50 per adult, £2.50 per child