Christine Ryder: 'There seems to be more to do now than at lambing'

livestocksheepFarm focus

Christine Ryder and husband Chris farm 242ha (600 acres) at Blubberhouses, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are tenants on their home farm and also run a B&B. Stock includes Swaledale and Mule flocks, as well as a herd of Belted Galloways. The farm hosts educational access visits.


This spring we had probably the best lambing time we have enjoyed in a while. Once the rain stopped and the sun came it was good to be out there without three coats and hats on. The sheep have lambed well, with healthy, strong lambs in good number.


I have ended up with about 70 in the pet lamb pen, which is a lot less than last year but still plenty for me. I had a couple of bed and breakfast guests staying for 11 nights who thought it was wonderful to spend time in there helping lambs learn to drink from the machine and topping up any others which needed some help with a bottle.


It saved me hours of time. Luckily they have booked 15 nights for next Easter, so even more help. Now all the sheep have lambed there seems to be more to do than at lambing. Lambs are all being vaccinated against orf and marked to show if they are male or female.


They seem to grow so quickly and even in a small pen they take some catching, or is it me getting old? During lambing time we hosted a couple of open afternoons for members of the public. Each visit had about 30 people and it is amazing to see what pleasure they get out of something as simple as holding a lamb, something we take so much for granted.


On the morning of the first visit the sheep were popping lambs out all over but as soon as the visitors arrived they stopped and did not cooperate at all so they did not get to see a birth which was a bit disappointing. Of course, as soon as they left the sheep started again.


It can be a bit of a hassle getting organised for the visitors but it is a great way to talk and educate them about our industry and how food is produced. Sadly, they know so little. Next month the International Wool Textile Organisation is holding its world congress in Harrogate.


A trip has been organised for 45 of its visitors to come here, meet some sheep and see how we farm. So now we need to get the pressure washer out again and clean the sheds. I am making lunch for them all so it is going to be a busy time.

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