Tom Locke, Farm Manager at Blenheim Estate, which surrounds the prestigious Blenheim Palace, has his expert hands full this spring, with more than 1,500 lambs due – and eight seven-week-old sheepdog pups raring to go.
Lambing season on the Estate began just after Easter, with Tom and his team busy making sure that his 1,000-strong flock and their new-born lambs are safe and thriving. His two leading sheep dogs, Tweed and Roe, are parents to an eight-strong litter of pups too, who are now boisterous and bursting with energy. From four boy pups and four girls, Tom has already selected two girls, Fern and Quinn, who will be staying on the estate with Tom to be trained up to take care of the flock in the future, a process that can take two years. Three of the six remaining pups have already found their forever homes.
Tom explains: “I am very attached to my dogs, but the pups are now causing chaos wherever they go, even their mum Roe has had enough. Tweed has been with me 10 years now and is getting a big arthritic so it’s now time to start training up the next generation. It’s Roe’s first litter and there are all beautiful dogs but a handful now that they are a few weeks old.”
Visit Britain’s Greatest Palace and its stunning grounds – www.blenheimpalace.com
Picture: Pete Seaward