A unique 90 second video from the National Trust showing a ram's eye view as he 'meets' his new flock of ewes is set to become a 'ewe-tube' hit, say online farmers.
The ram, named Peacland Paolo, is the latest arrival at the National Trust's My Farm experiment* at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire which is aiming to reconnect people with where their food comes from.
Paolo, a Portland ram **, was fitted with a camera measuring 60mm by 42mm, weighing just 167 grams last week.
The film shows him exploring his new home, giving MyFarm farmers an exclusive ram's eye view of tupping (mating).
He is expected to tup around 30 ewes over the next 4-6 weeks. The ewes will give birth to their lambs next spring ***.
Wimpole Farm Manager Richard Morris said: "It will be fascinating to see just what a day in the life of a ram is like.
"Although we have a good idea that most of his time will be spent grazing, sleeping and mating, it will be interesting to see it all from his point of view.
"We kept Paolo in a pen when he first arrived at the farm as part of his quarantine and so that he could adjust to his new home. But, we've now introduced him to the ewes and he's outside enjoying the grass.
"It may seem a bit strange that we want to follow and even film Paolo as he goes about his business, but farming is all about breeding, growing and harvest - so it's only right that we should come up with ram-cam. This is nature as it happens and we hope it will be seen as something that reminds people what it takes to get food on their plate. The pressure is now on Paolo to perform!"
Paolo is 18 months old and this is his first season of tupping. He is expected to mate with 2-3 ewes a day with this figure increasing to 6-8 ewes a day when he's older.
The Wimpole farm team is keeping a close eye on Paolo to make sure the camera in no way hinders his daily life, or becomes stressful for him in any way.
If at any time the camera is suspected of bothering him, the ram will be caught and the camera removed.
There are nine other rams at Wimpole who have between them 260 ewes to mate with over the next two months.
Subscribers to MyFarm will be able to watch the results of Paolo's efforts next spring in Wimpole's very own 'lambing live' when 260-300 lambs are expected to be born.
For more information and to sign-up to join the MyFarm experiment, visit www.my-farm.org.uk.
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* The MyFarm experiment launched on 4 May 2011. Based at the National Trust's own working farm, Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire, Farm Manager Richard Morris poses regular questions on major issues to subscribers to debate and vote upon each month. Subjects include crops, livestock and wider environmental impacts.
** Portland is a rare breed of sheep, originally from Dorset.
*** The standard gestation period for a ewe is approximately five months.
About the National Trust:
The National Trust cares for 300 inspiring historic houses and gardens across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. From former workers' cottages to the most iconic stately homes, and from mines and mills to theatres and inns, the stories of people and their heritage are at the heart of everything it does. People of all ages, individuals, schools and communities get involved each year with its projects, events and working holidays and over 61,000 volunteers help to bring the properties alive for the Trust's 4 million members. Find out more at ww.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Assistant Press Officer
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