Ruby Pytlasinska (L3 agric) - lambing weekends

A virus affecting flocks of sheep has forced Reaseheath College in Nantwich to change plans for its popular lambing event.

The virus can lead to complications in pregnancy and cause some lambs to be born deformed.

Now the college has decided to limit the lambing event to one weekend instead of two, on welfare grounds.

This will allow the ewes to lamb away from public view in quiet areas where they can be monitored by vets and college farm staff.

A small percentage of the flock has been affected and Reaseheath will still open its lambing sheds to the public on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, after the ewes have lambed.

Organisers say there will be lots of healthy lambs to see, as well as Reaseheath’s mini zoo and there will also be a farmers’ market offering local products.

Regular updates for this year’s event will be issued at

Reaseheath Farm Manager James Todd said: “Thousands of visitors look forward to attending our lambing weekends and to meeting the newborns.

“We understand that some may be disappointed that we are limiting the event to just one weekend rather than two, and that there will be no opportunity to watch a live birth.

“But, as ever, we must put the welfare of the ewes and lambs first.

“We took the decision to keep this event in the college calendar because it’s become such a family favourite over the past 25 years.

“Everyone loves to see young lambs gambolling – it’s a sure sign that Spring has arrived!

“Opening our lambing sheds also gives us the chance to educate the public about the farming year and where their food comes from.”

Reaseheath’s flock is one of hundreds nationwide affected by Schmallenberg – a virus which is spread by bites from infected midges in late summer.

If the ewe is infected between 25 and 50 days into pregnancy, the virus can cause lambs to be born deformed.

Schmallenberg does not spread from ewe to ewe and it does not pose a risk to humans.

It was first identified in Europe in 2011, with the first UK cases occurring in 2012-2013.

More cases were seen in 2017-2018 and again in 2024. There is currently no vaccine available.

Rob Hall, from LLM Farm Vets, said: “Lambing has already started on the Reaseheath farm, and sadly we are already seeing the effects that the virus has on unborn lambs.

“There are no treatment or prevention options for this disease, and we are anticipating that most farms in England will be affected by Schmallenberg this Spring.

“We are providing round the clock support to the Reaseheath team, and to other farms in the area, as they work hard to ensure that newborns and their mothers receive the best of care.

“Welfare of the sheep remains the number one priority for everyone involved with the college’s flock.”

Reaseheath’s lambing weekend will run from 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17.

Tickets also include entry to the college’s Mini Zoo and farmers’ market.

A range of food outlets will be available, and parking is convenient and free.

Tickets are available to buy online at

(Images from 2023 event)

lambing weekends at reaseheath college

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