Warm weather gives Lancashire shepherd a festive surprise

Spring has sprung early in Spring Lane with the arrival of two early lambs for Heather Burns

Spring has sprung early in Spring Lane with the arrival of two early lambs for Heather Burns

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A shepherd tending her flock before Christmas got a surprise visitation – from two lambs not due til the end of January.

The pair arrived this week, the earliest farmer Heather Burns has ever known.

Now their mum is in the sheep house under suspicion of having a secret liaison with one of the rams on the farm in Samlesbury.

“Our lambs aren’t expected until the middle or end of next month, so it looks like someone has been a naughty girl,” said Heather.

“We put the rams in with the main flocks at the end of August. So by rights these two little ones shouldn’t have been here for another month or so.

“They look almost full term, so we can only guess mum has somehow managed to get out and have a raunchy night on the tiles.

“Having said that, this particular ewe has always been a bit of a wild child, so I suppose it’s no great surprise!”

Heather was stunned when she went to check the flock in the field at Blue Slate Farm in Spring Lane one morning and found the Charolais mum and babies staring back at her.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she said. “They have obviously been born during the night out in the open. We’ve brought them inside now and we will keep an eye on them before putting them outside again. They are always bettter in the fresh air.

“The weather has been so mild of late, but it can’t be down to the temperature. The mum has obviously conceived a few weeks before we put the rams in.

“We keep them separate, so she’s managed to get to him somehow.”

With 127 other mums-to-be on the farm it is likely to be a busy Christmas and New Year getting ready for lambing time.

“We haven’t had the others scanned yet, so we don’t know how many are expecting and when.

“I was at the market in Clitheroe the other day and everyone there was surprised by how early these two little ones had arrived. The earliest I have ever known was the middle of January.”