Staffordshire farmer barricades barn to protect lambs from snow

Newborn lambs in the pens

CCTV cameras were being used to monitor sheep who had given birth during the night

A farmer raced to help his newborn lambs through the cold snap by barricading their barn with hay bales.

Richard Bower, from Lower Drayton Farm in Staffordshire, said the snow was a surprise but he had managed to get his expectant ewes inside the lambing shed.

He has also installed CCTV cameras to monitor the sheep who had given birth during the night from his phone.

Up to three lambs are born each day at the farm, with 75 more expected to be born during the spring season.

The farm near Penkridge, which has been in Mr Bower’s family for 40 years, has 10 CCTV cameras across the shed and lambing pens, funded through a grant from the government’s Farming Transformation Fund.

CCTV camera stills

Lower Drayton Farm currently has 10 CCTV cameras installed across the lambing pens

“We lamb 100 ewes [during spring], so we get about 150 lambs. We have about 75 lambs on the farm at the moment,” he said.

“We let them go outside as soon as they are strong enough, so the mothers can eat grass and make milk.”

He said he had held off putting any lambs born within the past two weeks outside due to the snow.

“Most of our pregnant ewes have woolly coats which will keep them warm.

“We’re lucky at the moment, we’ve got all the sheep inside,” he added.

Newborn lambs in the pens

The shed has been barricaded with hay bales to keep the newborn lambs warm

Mr Bower said the welfare of the animals was the “number one priority” and he had barricaded the shed to keep the animals warm.

“As farmers we are always cautious, the Beast from the East about five years ago did take us by surprise, and it was a massive challenge.

“We’ve barricaded the shed inside with bales and whatever, just to expect the worst,” he explained.

Richard Bower

Mr Bower said the welfare of the animals was the number one priority

Mr Bower said a new addition to his own family – his nine-month-old son – had also been depriving him of sleep.

“We’ve got a new young-born baby at home as well, so he doesn’t really sleep through the night,” he said.

“I’m keeping an eye on the baby and on the lambing pens at the same time.”

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for some areas north of Stoke-on-Trent, as snow fell across the West Midlands on Thursday.

Sub-zero temperatures are expected to remain until Friday.

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