Belfast Telegraph

Farmer has his hands full as lambing season starts early

By Donna Deeney

Life on the McNicholl farm has been busy over the past week with the arrival of 17 new lambs - long before the lambing season starts.

Normally associated with spring, these adorable wee cuties are kept cosy inside a shed on the Greysteel farm owned by Patrick McNicholl.

Patrick helped deliver all of the lambs and is now waiting patiently on another dozen or so, including at least one more set of triplets.

A quiet, restful Christmas Day with his feet up is certainly not on the cards for Patrick. He said: "Livestock don't know it is Christmas and they need looking after just the same as they do every day.

"By the time Christmas is here I expect to have between 25 and 30 lambs to look after, including another set of triplets.

"The first of the lambs arrived last Thursday and there are a few more still to come, but it is going to plan and the older lambs are now able to go outside with their mothers to run around.

"The weather now is unseasonably warm so they don't have to be inside all the time, but even though it is as mild as it is, I bring them all inside at night.

"There are six sets of twins so far, which is fine, and one set of triplets, which isn't ideal because a ewe can't feed three.

"I have begun to set one of the triplets with another ewe to foster and that's going well. That way they all get a good chance of survival."

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