I suspect it is a rare person who looks for and finds a place to work while they are on a trip, but but nothing surprises me to find out what constitutes a holiday for Rob. Easegill Head Farm in Cumbria belongs to a family that raises sheep. They have a guest cottage available for anyone who would be interested in staying, and participating, in the routine of the farm. This farm was featured in a very popular 5 part series filmed by the BBC in 2011, called Lambing Live.
I had lots of questions to ask when I first saw his pictures. What do the colored dots mean? The color on the backside of a ewe indicates which ram is responsible for her pregnancy. How do they possibly keep track of this? During mating season, each ram has an identifying color repeatedly applied to his chest. This is a farming version of kiss and tell. Color on the front of a ewe indicates how many babies she is carrying. A pregnant ewe needs extra food. A ewe with multiple lambs coming needs lots of extra food. What is Rob doing with an orange bag? The sheep recognize a feed bag, and will follow anyone who is carrying one. His main job, separating the ewes with 1, 2, or 3 lambs on the way.
Their prize sheep are known as Swaledale sheep. They are found throughout the mountainous regions of England. They are one of three distinct breeds associated with sheep farming in the Lake District. They can be identified by their curling horns (both the males and females have them), their off white wool, and the white markings on their faces and around their eyes.
As a breed, they are noted for their ability to thrive in exposed locations with inhospitable winters. In general, they do not need to be raised indoors, but for lambing time. The ewes are exceptionally good Moms, and look after their lambs. A ewe who does not become pregnant will, on her own, go back to the original ram for a second mating. Extraordinary, this.
The sheep farmers in the area all have the right to graze their sheep on what amounts to common land. Each farmer takes responsibility for culling out the sheep that belong to a neighbor, so they can be returned to their rightful owner.