Blenheim Palace is expecting a record number of twins this year! With over 3,000 lambs due to arrive towards the end of April, visitors can see them gambolling about in the ‘Capability’ Brown Parkland on a special Lamb Buggy Tour beginning 20 April.
The 1808 ewes were scanned by two members of the Rural Team in February meaning that Head Shepherd, Charles Gerring knows he is expecting 391 singles, 1,166 sets of twins, 218 sets of triplets and 1 set of quads! The spring arrivals are thought to be arriving from 20 April.
The scans show a huge increase in multiples, with a 195% success rate for the ewes and 133% for the ewe lambs. The ewe lambs are just a year old at lambing and shepherds really only want them to have 1 lamb each, so they have excelled themselves averaging 1.33 each.
The ewes achieved 195% scanning which is the highest Blenheim Palace Estate has ever achieved and the overall percentage including the ewe lambs is also the highest achieved. The figures for the ewes in particular are very good. Ewes who give birth to triplets and quads usually have one or two of their 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 such good conditions when tupping, and our grass quality during the early winter, we have scanned the largest percentages that we have ever had. This will likely mean lots of work for the team and I making sure lambs are successfully fostered. It may also mean some very cute pet lambs with all hands-on deck for hand-feeding in the early days. For our new apprentice, Tom, this is a great time to be involved in Shepherding.”
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 – according to Charles these sheep “Make the best lawnmowers!”.
The Estate team have put in place a careful health management programme for the 1,800 resident ewes, which has led to great lambing results over the last three years. After the lambing season the total number of sheep grazing Blenheim Palace rises to nearly 5,000 (1,800 Ewes & just over 3,000 Lambs).
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 the lambs full of the joys of spring frolicking upon the ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped Parkland at Blenheim Palace
When: Daily from 20 April – 3rd June
Admission: Park & Gardens Ticket + Price: £3.50 per adult, £2.50 per child