Lambing 2015

Easter is a wonderful time of year. Not only do we have thousands of you lovely lot joining us for our Cadbury Easter trail and munching on those yummy eggheads, but we also get to welcome our gorgeous Jacob lambs!

 

Our first lamb, a girl we named Lisa, was born just before the Easter bank holiday weekend and our park team have been very busy since.

'Lisa the lamb' was named after our previous Park & Garden Manager who left us earlier in the year to take up a new job at Tyntesfield.

‘Lisa the lamb’ was named after our previous Park & Garden Manager who left us earlier in the year to take up a new job at Tyntesfield.

Lambing takes place away from our main visitor area but you have an opportunity to pop along to see the team and meet the new arrivals on a park walk. We have a team of volunteers in every day up to the 19th April 2015. Up to 3 times a day they are leading groups across the parkland to the lambing area.

Why not come along? Here are some more photographs taken by Jana, our volunteer photographer, to tempt you…

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We hope to see you soon!

Feeling festive in the park

At Charlecote Park we have over 250 acres of parkland, 180 fallow deer and 170 Jacob sheep. One of our key responsibilities is to make sure that the park is safe and that all of our livestock is fed and well. To do this we complete a full park check every morning 365 days a year.

I was looking after the park and garden on Saturday so the park check was my responsibility. Now normally I can be stuck in the office all day so a morning in the park is a special treat.

My first job is to feed the deer in West Park. This really is the best way to start the day because the herd love the deer nuts and they will let you get extra close to them. Whilst they are feeding we check the deer to make sure that they are all well and healthy.  This is key at this time of year because most of the does will be pregnant and the bucks (male fallow deer) have just come out of the rut which means that they will have lost a lot of body weight.

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After checking the herd it’s off round the rest of the Park to make sure the trees are safe – We have over one thousand parkland trees and around 250 of these are classed as ancient, veteran and notable.  We also check all of our fences on a daily basis.

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Next stop Polo Field to check the Sheep. We keep our rams and breeding ewes here. We have recently finished tupping so all of our girls are painted in red, green or blue depending in which ram they were put with. We are looking forward to lambing starting in early April

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However it’s not all about the parkland so after completing my rounds I went to help Tim, our Assistant Visitor Services Manager, put up a gazebo on the Cedar Lawn ready for the brass band. After this we popped in to the grotto to make sure that Santa and his elf was ok and ready for all of the day’s visitors.

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And finally it’s back to the office where we are met by Jana our lovely volunteer photographer. She had brought us in a huge box of delicious handmade chocolates – I think that it would be considered rude not to try one (or two!)

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So the brass band is playing Christmas tunes, Santa is in his grotto, the deer are fed, my multi coloured sheep are happy, all is well in the park and we have a lovely big box of chocs.

Some days I think that I have the best job in the world!

Lisa, Park & Garden Manager

Major Mustard WILL have a house…

A few weeks ago we told you about the competition to design a house for Major Mustard and his flock of rainbow sheep. Well, we have our winner….

Well done to Hannah Drake, aged 6, who designed this wonderful home for our Jacob sheep. This will be insipring artist, Rachel, as she creates the installation. We will post more information and photos as it develops!

Hannah has won a private deer safari around Charlecote Park in our Land Rover for her and 3 others!

Weaning the sheep!

We separated our lambs from their mothers yesterday to allow weaning to take place. Lambing takes place out of doors in April and May and this means that we have to put the ewes to the ram in November. The ewes lose condition producing milk to support the lambs and weaning has to take place a couple of months before mating to allow the sheep to gain condition and achieve maximum fertility.

The sheep were put through the handling race and the lambs separated or “shed” from the ewes.  The ewes were then put through the race for a second time to allow us to carry out routine foot trimming.  The sheep race is in Polo Field on the southern edge of WestPark and the ewes were taken by trailer to Places Meadow in order that they are out of sight and sound of the lambs which have remained in Polo.

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