The Woolly World of Lambs
Winter may not have loosened its grip just yet, but in many parts of the country, the first signs of spring are starting to show. And nothing says spring quite like the sight of the first lambs appearing in the fields. Lambing starts earliest in the South of England, and latest in the North of Scotland, extending the season from the start of the year to the end of April. Fortunately for most farmers, their own lambing season usually only lasts for a few weeks, but during that time they are working around the clock, tending to their flock 24/7. It’s tough work but it’s good to know that Kilco are right behind them at every step.
Kilco supports lambing with a range of nutritional supplements, including Twin lamb Extra, for ewes carrying multiple lambs and Lamb Colostrum, which provides vital vitamins and minerals during the first few hours. Lamb Boost Liquid is a great way to help lambs who might be struggling in their early days and is designed to fit in your pocket so you can use it on the go whenever you see a young lamb in need.
British sheep farming statistics
Sheep farming is a major industry in the UK, with an estimated 32 million sheep in total. This includes over 16million breeding ewes, with 7 million in England, 5million in Wales, 3.5million in Scotland and a million more in Northern Ireland. DEFRA figures show that sheep numbers have been increasing slowly but steadily in recent years, after a decade of decline, with an increase of 3% between 2013 and 2015.
There are more sheep in Scotland than people, with 6½ million rams and ewes compared to 5.3 million men and women, but this is nothing compared to New Zealand, where there are no less than seven sheep for every resident, with a total of 34.2 million animals roaming around the two islands. On the other hand, Americans really don’t like lamb, consuming just 1.1lb per person per year, compared to 86lbs of chicken and 65lbs of beef. Worldwide there are estimated to be over a billion sheep, or one sheep for every seven people on the planet.
Fun facts about sheep
We all think we know about sheep, casting them as dumb creatures with a herd mentality, but they are actually quite amazing animals. Did you know that:
- Sheep are smart – the University of Illinois found sheep were as smart as cattle and just below pigs in intelligence. They can solve problems, recognise faces, read emotions and even learn their own names!
- Sheep are ancient – we have been farming sheep longer than any other animal, with Britain’s first wool factory opened by the Romans, in Winchester, in 50AD.
- Sheep have 320 degree vision – their rectangular pupil gives sheep a wide field of vision, allowing them to see behind themselves without turning their head.
- Sheep are warm – their woolly coat keeps a sheep’s body temperature several degrees above our own at a toasty 102.5F
- Sheep wool goes a long way – just one pound of sheep’s wool can make up to ten miles of yarn, with each sheep producing between 2lbs and 30lbs of wool per year depending on their breed.
So next time you stop to enjoy the new born lambs gambolling around a field, just remember; there is much more to our white woolly friends than first meets the eye.
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