DELIVERING their first baby can be a challenge for any student midwife.
So imagine the task of farmyard apprentices who are poised to welcome 84 sets of triplets, 218 pairs of twins and 78 single lambs this weekend (Sat Jan 26 and Sun Jan 27).
Students and staff are expecting to deliver more than 700 little bleaters at Sparsholt College on the outskirts of Winchester.
And ewe can watch the lambs being born and shepherding skills as the agricultural college opens its gates to the public for lambing weekend.
Thousands of locals flock to the annual event. The fun day out is especially popular with young families.
Robin Taylor-Milton, learning manager for agriculture, conservation, game and wildlife, said: “At what is already one of the busiest times in the farming calendar with sleepless nights, twins, triplets and adoptions, the farm at Sparsholt College also has hands-on students learning the ropes.”
Mr Taylor-Milton said students gained invaluable practical experience living the life of a working sheep farmer.
He said: “They will all have to cover the late night and early morning shifts as the 400 ewes deliver 84 sets of triplets, 218 sets of twins and 78 single – 766 lambs in total.
“As and when they go off and work on local farms during their lambing seasons, these students are prepared to put their newly acquired skills to commercial practise.”
He said the lambing weekend was also important to inspire famers of the future which was crucial as the ageing industry faced a huge labour shortage.
“Not everyone entering agriculture will be following a family tradition – there are and there needs to be first-generation farmers.”
* Sparsholt College is open to the public for lambing weekend this Saturday (Jan 26) and Sunday (Jan 27) between 9.3am and 3.30pm