We allow our sheep to give birth outdoors, in order to give our lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need. The first lambs this year are due at the end of April.
Our Estate’s 1,000-strong flock of Scotch mule sheep lambs later than many farms because they are reared entirely on grass within the parkland, keeping them as naturally healthy as possible.
“We would just like to remind everyone as we approach our lambing season, to please keep your dog on leads while visiting the estate,” said Farm Manager Charles Gerring.
“Chasing by dogs can do serious damage to our flock, even if the dog doesn’t catch them. The stress of worrying by dogs can cause sheep to die and pregnant ewes to miscarry their lambs,” he added.
In addition to putting up clear signage across our estate, we are also launching an online ‘ThankEwe’ campaign which aims to educate owners to the potential risks of losing control of their dogs around livestock.
Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953, if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the person in charge of the dog is guilty of an offence.
This includes attacking sheep, chasing them in a way that may cause injury, suffering, miscarriage or loss of produce or not on a lead or being otherwise under close control in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.
“We know the vast majority of owners are extremely responsible, however each year we have to deal with some extremely distressing incidents involving dog attacks on the sheep,” said Charles.
“Often the owners are just not aware of the potential dangers their pets pose to livestock and are also deeply traumatised by the consequences of not being able to keep their dogs under control,” he added.
The Kennel Club and National Farmers' Union (NFU) have jointly put together recommendations on how to make countryside dog walks safer and more stress free for dogs, owners and for farm animals.