Ewe offers surprise with five lambs
A ewe has given birth to a rare set of quintuplets.
The Lleyn ewe, a rare Welsh breed, was due to have triplets so after two new-borns arrived Murray Sharpe left his daughters, Flora and Verity, to supervise the birth of the final lamb last Thursday.
But a short time later they ran to the house and told him the ewe - named Blodwyn in deference to her Welsh roots - had given birth to another two.
Mr Sharpe, a ranger at the National Trust-run Arlington Court, near Barnstaple, North Devon said: "This is the first time in the 15 years I have worked at Arlington that one of our ewes has had five lambs.
"Despite the eighteen hour days, I always enjoy lambing but this year it was a real joy to have five healthy lambs born at once.
"I had watched the ewe give birth to two lambs and then, thinking there was only one left to come, left my daughters to supervise the final birth.
"Soon they come running in to the house calling for me, and reported that five lambs had been born within half an hour.
"All five lambs and the mother are doing really well. However, to spread the demand of five hungry mouths, we've weaned two of the lambs on to one of our Jacob ewes, so she can help nurse them."
The estate is traditionally home to Jacob sheep but rangers have been diversifying their stock.
Blodwyn was crossed with a Romney ram, so the two male and three female lambs are Romney-Lleyn crosses, and the first of their type at Arlington Court.