Look out - lambs about

The Malvern Hills Trust are asking dog walkers to take extra care and put their dogs on leads as lambing time is here.

At this time of year, the public may see lambs when out walking on the Malvern Hills and Commons and in the surrounding countryside. 

Even if lambs are not yet born, pregnant sheep are particularly sensitive to disturbance by dogs.  The stress from being chased can result in the sheep aborting their unborn lambs.

Beck Baker, Community and Conservation Officer said “As the weather improves we’re expecting more people to be out and enjoying the Hills and Commons.  We want people to have an enjoyable time here with their pets and are encouraging people to put their dogs on leads near livestock.” 

“Livestock attacks by dogs are devastating and distressing to everyone involved but can be stopped by ensuring that dogs are kept on a lead near grazing livestock.”

Livestock worrying, which includes chasing, is a criminal offence and those who do not have control of their dog may face a fine or, in serious cases, see their dogs destroyed.  Sheep and lambs may not always be visible so dogs should be kept under close control at all times and on a lead where grazing cattle and sheep are known to be to avoid any chance of an incident.

Roads also pass through some of the open commons where livestock graze freely and lambs may not be familiar with the dangers posed by vehicles.  If driving across the Castlemorton and Hollybed Commons please slow down and take extra care.  Livestock have right of way over the road and drivers should stop and give way to animals. Signs will shortly be going up around the Commons to remind drivers of the presence of lambs.

The locations of cattle and sheep within the Trust's grazing projects are published weekly on Stockwatch but don't forget that cattle and sheep may be found grazing freely on Common Land.

By following this advice, you can enjoy your walk in the countryside and keep sheep and their lambs safe and happy.