The farming family which hosted BBC Lambing Live last year are set to welcome the public back into their lambing shed next week via a live stream from a camera installed in the roof space of their lambing shed.
Hamish and Susie Dykes and family, who run South Slipperfield Farm, West Linton, are set to share the highs and lows of lambing their 950 ewes. The LambCam, set up by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), will give everyone an opportunity to experience lambing during one of the busiest times of year for sheep farmers around the country.
The aim of the QMS LambCam project is to encourage members of the public to learn more about the hard work, dedication and care which goes into rearing top quality livestock.
The camera installed by Dundee-based Farmer’s Eye, will be streaming live action from the lambing shed via a dedicated page on the QMS website www.qmscotland.co.uk/lambcam from 6pm - 9pm on the evenings of Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th and Friday 27th March. “Lambing Live last year was an incredible experience to be part of which our whole family enjoyed. It was also a really self-reflective process and made us really appreciate what we have,” said Hamish Dykes.
“This year it will be QMS rather than BBC with a camera in the lambing shed, so instead of 70 crew in the shed with us there will just be one small camera above us. We’ll have to make sure we remember we are being filmed and other people will be able to hear what we’re saying!”
The Dykes family, including Hamish’s parents John and Kate, and the couple’s children Rosie and Murdo, take a great deal of pride in looking after their stock to produce high quality Scotch Lamb. South Slipperfield is a member of QMS’s Quality Assurance Scheme which means it is inspected annually to ensure it meets scheme standards which underpin the Scotch Lamb brand.
“We’re very aware that quality assurance and animal welfare are extremely important to ensure consumer confidence in what we produce,” added Mr Dykes.
The family’s charismatic Huntaway dogs Jess and son Doug , who won the hearts of the viewers on the BBC Show last year, will be appearing again and making their presence felt in the daily lambing diary videos and via the LambCam in the shed.
“Lambing is one of the busiest times in the farming calendar and sheep farmers up and down the country work incredibly hard at this time of year,” said Carol McLaren, Head of Communications with QMS.
“Like any maternity ward around the country, there will inevitably be problems such as lambs which are difficult to deliver due to natural mal-presentation or, in the case of twins or triplets, you can be faced with a tangle of legs and tails to sort out before the lambs can be safely delivered.
“While it can be very challenging, especially if there are problems such as bad weather, it is also one of the most rewarding times in the farming calendar.
“The LambCam will also be streaming audio so people can share some of the best sounds in the lambing shed – such as a ewe ‘speaking’ to her new arrival and encouraging it to get up. The speed that lambs can get to their feet to get a taste of that nutrition-packed first milk – colostrum – can be amazing!
“We hope that people will enjoy visiting our website to view the livestream and video diaries and find out more information about sheep farming in Scotland. We’ll also be encouraging people to interact with us and the Dykes via social media – there will be a chance to name lambs and ask the family questions too.”
Followers of the LambCam can also be kept you up-to-date with the live lambing action on www.qmscotland.co.uk/lambcam by following QMS on facebook and Twitter @qmscotland #QMSLambCam