New arrivals down on the farm at Oaklands College

The newborn calf at Oaklands College

The newborn calf at Oaklands College - Credit: Archant

With Oaklands College doubling as a real working farm in St Albans’ Green Belt, the institution has welcomed its first lambs and calves of the season, including rare quadruplets.

The college, located in Hatfield Road, has a variety of animals at its 500-acre campus which are taken care of by animal care, equine and agricultural students.

It has seen 80 lambs born already, with many more ewes due to give birth over the next few weeks.

A college spokeswoman said that as the ewes had not been scanned yet, “we don’t know for sure how many we’ll get. Our farm manager thinks the number born will be much the same as last year, which was around the 250-mark.

“We are also expecting a set of quads this year, which is very rare!”

She added that students were being kept busy as Oaklands has “had a lot of triplets this year. Normally the third lamb would be given to a ewe who only has a single lamb, so she can feed it, but we haven’t had any single lambs, so there’s a lot of bottle-feeding and late nights going on.

“But it’s a great experience for the students.”

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Pupils have been taking part in a rota system to stay at the college around the clock to make sure ewes who are giving birth get the care and help they need.

Among the animals born recently at the farm is a cute British White calf, a breed dating back to the 17th century which apparently make excellent mothers.

The spokeswoman added that a litter of British Saddleback pigs, a relatively new breed, has made an appearance this week, and “a very plump goat at the farm is also due soon”.