Farm Visit – Lambing at the Hirsel

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the launch of our themed Farm Visits has been delayed until 2021, when they will take place on the 4th Saturday of the month, beginning in May.

Launching the series in the spring of 2021, our first Farm Visit will be all about
Lambing at the Hirsel, and will be timed to occur just after the final lambs have been born, but while the mums and lambs are still in the close (‘in-bye’) fields.

We’ll cover:
* A short history of the Hirsel; bringing sheep back onto the farm after an absence of 30 years, what a difference they make! Weed control, soil regeneration, and wildlife encouragement.
* Breeding for color; the day we looked out on a field of black Hebridean ewes – and saw a white lamb! Celebrating the reds, grays, and whites of a breed that nearly had these traditional colors bred out of them.
*How to raise a flock that is hardy and self-sufficient, but well-trained and friendly…without a dog. It starts with the mums and lambs, and a multi-generational flock. And a bucket of treats, of course!

We’ll visit the lambing fields and shelter:
* Rotating the pregnant ewes, and then the mums and lambs, through our lambing fields and lambing ‘jugs’. How do we get the most out of our small fields, and what goes on in these fields the rest of the year?
* The multi-functional field shelter, serving as the lambing centre now, and the general treatment area the rest of the year – getting the most use out of a small space, re-purposed equipment, and a tight budget.
* Our feeding and care regime for mums and lambs. Using as examples, any issues that came up this year, we’ll chat about how we address difficult issues such as ‘bottle teat’, or lambs that are slow to suckle. Predators and other dangers to newborn lambs; living with crows, foxes and dogs on the farm.

**We’ll supply a hot cuppa and a sweet to start and finish your tour. You’re welcome to bring a packed lunch to enjoy in the picnic area overlooking the lambing fields. If our chores permit, we may join you, and answer any questions you have left over. Please wear sturdy shoes and weatherproof jackets – this is a working hill farm, featuring lots of rough terrain, mud and a bit of hill too. And of course…the Scottish weather.

Tickets: £10/person Please confirm attendance here, and include the theme of this Visit in your message.

Please note:
While we cannot *guarantee* contact with the lambs for health and bio-security reasons, we’ll get you as close as we safely can. If there are lambs needing bottle-fed or other hands-on care, we’ll try to include this experience in your visit.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is NOT a workshop – we don’t pretend to know enough to teach you how to lamb. What you will get out of this day is an insight into OUR WAY of approaching lambing – where we align with industry standard practice, and where we choose another way. We don’t claim to know better, we just know – and like to share – what works for The Hirsel.

Also: while we would love to invite your children to the Hirsel, please keep in mind the day described above, when deciding whether to bring them. It won’t be a cute-n-cuddly day, but full of information, and could be wonderful for young people with an interest in farming. For understandable reasons, we ask that you leave your dogs at home. If you must bring them, please make sure they’ll be comfortable waiting in your vehicle.

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