The estate’s shepherds, with the help of independent sheep scanner Bob Tofield, scanned nearly 1,000 sheep in just one day.
This is the first year the flock of Scotch Mule sheep has been looked after entirely within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Two of the pregnant ewes are expecting quadruplets, which is rare according to Charles Gerring, Blenheim Estate’s Head Shepherd.
“Of the 988 ewes scanned, there are also 153 expecting single lambs, 688 twins and 134 triplets,” said Charles.
“Overall our results mean we’ll have a ratio of 1.96 lambs to the ewe – this is really good for an outdoor farm like ours and is the best we have achieved to date. The ideal ratio is two lambs to the ewe.
“The size of the flock is smaller than in previous years because we have kept them all within the environs of the park, however for the pregnancy ratio to go up is a great sign the flock is happy and healthy,” he added.
The grassland within the UNESCO World Heritage Site provides near ideal conditions for the extensive flock to graze throughout the year.
Blenheim Estate allow their sheep to give birth outdoors, in order to give lambs the best spring grass and nutrients they need. The first lambs this year are due at the end of April.
The Blenheim Estate lambs later than many farms because their Scotch Mule sheep are reared entirely on grass within the Park walls, keeping them as naturally healthy as possible.
At Blenheim Estate Land we know that our land is precious and finite, but cared for properly its benefits can be limitless. Yet today there are fresh challenges like climate change, an aging population and increasing urbanisation. So our approach – spanning a number of projects – needs to be as sophisticated, enduring and holistic as those issues we face.
By adopting new methods of valuing our natural capital we can view our land resources as part of an ecosystem. An ecosystem whose benefits extend to the air we all breathe, the green transport solutions that connect our communities, the physical and mental health we enjoy, and the quality of the food we consume.
At the pinnacle of our ambitions is the goal to become the first estate to demonstrate carbon-negative land management.
Ultimately, these projects form part of Blenheim’s Strategic Purpose; to be the lifeblood of the local economy, to enhance the lives of local people, and to share and protect this place.
At Blenheim Estate we believe the bounty from our land is more than the annual harvest, it’s the fundamental source of continued prosperity, renewal and wellbeing. Always growing our legacy.