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Lambing 2024 - CANCELLED

Public Announcement - Monday 8th April, 5pm

Hadsham Farm are very sad to report that we are closing the Spring Lambing 2024 event with immediate effect due to a potential public health issue.

It seems highly likely that we are the probable source of a bug called Cryptosporidium which has made a number of our visitors and staff ill with sickness and diarrhoea.

We are obviously completely devastated here that anyone has become unwell since visiting the farm and we hope that anyone who is ill makes a speedy recovery.

How did we get here?

Several of our lamb handling volunteers went down with sickness last week (post Easter Weekend) – as this had never happened to us before, we started to wonder what it could be that was making them ill. Plenty of visitors had arrived with fewer people than tickets citing general illness in the family, and we know that Norovirus is at a 10-year high so we wondered if we might be causing a spread of one of these bugs by simple virtue of gathering lots of people in one place.

A Google search revealed this Crypto bug (unknown to us at the time) and all the symptoms seemed to fit so we had the lamb faeces tested to be proactive, and they came back NEGATIVE in a snap test by Hook Norton vets. This was on Friday (5th) morning last week.

Nevertheless, we informed the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) that day that we suspected we might be spreading something, and they opened a case file for an unknown bug going around, possibly connected to the farm. Cherwell District Environmental Health then visited us immediately on Friday evening and having inspected, told us we were fine to stay open but (amongst a few other measures) to increase our insistence on hand washing of all staff and visitors – we have all the facilities in place, we just needed to remind everyone to use them.

On Sunday (7th) evening (last night), we then learned via a mum's WhatsApp group of the first diagnosed case of Crypto in a farm visitor. Not direct evidence that it came from us, but highly likely. At this point, we immediately informed the UKHSA and cancelled the following days event (Monday 8th). A team meeting this morning has quickly led us to the decision to close permanently for the rest of the event whether or not UKHSA or Environmental Health tell us any different (i.e. carry on but without lamb cuddling and bottle feeding).

If you would like to learn more please look up Cryptosporidiosis: public advice on the government’s website.

One of the main points is that you can only get cryptosporidiosis directly from another person or animal by touching faeces for example when changing a nappy or petting a lamb and putting your hands near or in your mouth without washing them thoroughly or indirectly from touching contaminated surfaces such as boots/shoes and then preparing food or touching your mouth without washing your hands first,.

 

The UKHSA have advised: “Cryptosporidium is a relatively common bug which can be easily caught from touching animals, so we recommend people wash their hands thoroughly with soap and hot water and dry them after being near animals or in areas frequented by animals and before preparing or eating food. This is especially important if you have been ill with symptoms yourself, as people with the infection can pass it on to others by touching surfaces or food.

Anyone with a diarrhoeal illness should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and if they have severe symptoms like bloody diarrhoea, they should contact NHS 111 or their GP surgery. They should stay off nursery, school and work for 48hrs and away from swimming pools for 14 days after the last episode of illness so avoid spreading the illness to others.

You can find more information about cryptosporidium here: Cryptosporidium: public advice - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)”

 

All tickets for cancelled event days (including the rain affected days last week) will be fully refunded but will take between 5-10 days to appear back on your card as there are a lot to get through and they have to go via our payment provider (Stripe).

Our Spring Lambing event has been running for a number of years now and we have never had an issue like this before. We pride ourselves on opening up the farm to the public and providing a lovely experience – particularly for children and their families. We’re naturally devasted by all of this.

 

Please be kind and we hope to see you again in the future.

Hadsham Farm

Experience the magic of lambing on your local farm!

Every spring we lamb 330 ewes in our barns, before turning around 600 lambs and their mothers out onto the new grass in our rolling meadows when the weather warms up.

 

We are opening the farm gates again this year to allow you to see what happens - from birth right through to the lambs’ first steps out on the fresh spring grass.

In addition to the lambing, we have small indoor and outdoor play areas, a sensory walk, colouring corner and an area to ‘hold a chick’ and 'cuddle a lamb', as well as a tea/coffee/refreshments station (staffed by volunteers with profits in aid of charity). 

23rd March - 14th April 2024

Morning sessions  9.30am - 12.30pm

Afternoon sessions  1.30pm - 4.30pm

All Tickets: £6

Under 2′s: Free (no ticket needed)

Evening Lambing Sessions- New for 2024!

7.30pm - 9.30pm

All Tickets: £15

Join our shepherd and team for an exclusive evening on the farm. Watching out for births, cuddling and bottle feeding the lambs and experiencing the relaxing atmosphere of the farm after dark. This is for adults over 16 years old, in small personal groups. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cake included. 

 

School groups are welcome, please email us more information. Keep up-to-date with what is going on at the farm through our Facebook and Instagram pages.​

You will need wellies/boots and coats. The sheep are all in barns but you will need to walk outside from one barn to another (and to the toilets) and there is no heating in the indoor areas. You are welcome to bring your own refreshments, there are picnic tables indoors and outdoors. We do not allow dogs, sorry!

 

We strongly advise women who are, or think they may be pregnant, to not visit the farm during lambing season; please see https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/news/important-advice-pregnant-women-during-lambing-season for further details.

No upcoming events at the moment

"Wonderful time at Hadsham farm lambing! Lots of lovely sheep and lambs to see, plus goats, pigs, chickens, and chicks! Holding the lambs was so lovely, my one year old loved it! Lovely outdoor space to play and a wonderful sensory walk on the grounds. There is a small cafe where you can get tea, coffee, drinks and cakes. All in all a wonderful time!"
Shelley F, April 2023



“Had a lovely day, feeding/holding the lambs and chick's, very surprised by the nature walk, sensory area and park area, very good set up children loved it, cafe had a good choice of cakes and snacks, very clean toilets, would totally recommend a visit.”

Nina Hay, April 2022

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