Thankfully lambing was not due to start until at least the end of the first week in April; and this is why Haddon Home Farm has not suffered the livestock losses experienced by some other upland farms due to the heavy snow and drifting in the Peak District before Easter.
Haddon Home Farm lambs by the dew pond
Lambs have been smaller this year. Gareth, the farm manager, puts this down partly to lower quality silage from last year’s colder, wet summer, despite supplemental feeding with home-produced corn and bought-in organic feed. The silver lining, of course, is that lambing has been easier with less birthing problems.
More triplets have been born this year. This sounds good, but in reality there is often one lamb which is rejected by the mother, usually the weakest. Jayne, the Haddon head gardener, has adopted Daisy, and Alison, a volunteer gardener, who has just completed a lambing course, may take another two for her paddock. Gareth has also managed to find homes for a couple of other rejected lambs.
(You can follow the progress of Daisy on our Twitter feed!)
Home Farm has crossed its native (Suffolk & Lleyn) breeds this year with Charollais and Texel for better returns later in the year.
It was Easter Monday and a gloriously warm, sunny morning at Haddon Home Farm. Beekeeper-in-training Jayne is still suffering from lack of sleep after lending a much needed hand to April’s full on lambing, but summoned enough energy to help Dave, the experienced apiarist, open the Haddon hive for the first time this year! Plenty of bees had been observed busily flying around in the recent warm weather. What would the hive reveal after one of the longest, coldest winters for many years……..?
Well, Jayne and Dave report lots of activity in the hive and stores of food were good from the abundant nectar on the Haddon Estate, BUT there was no queen, just a few capped drone cells and no eggs!
However, all is not lost! Two capped queen cells were spotted. All fingers are now crossed that a new queen will hatch within the next few days and that she’ll be very productive……… watch this space for news of the upcoming coronation!