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Welcome to QMS LambCam

Thanks for watching #QMSlambcam

Welcome to QMS LambCam

Lambing is one of the busiest times of the year for sheep farmers up and down the country. The lambing period presents many challenges and can be extremely hard work but it can also be one of the most rewarding times of the farming calendar.

In March 2015, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) teamed up with the farmers who hosted BBC Lambing Live 2014, Hamish and Susie Dykes and family at South Slipperfield, near West Linton, to offer you an opportunity to share their highs and lows of in the lambing shed this year.

A camera was installed in the roofspace of the Dykes’ lambing shed, so that everyone had the opportunity to get involved in one of the family’s busiest weeks of the year. Each day we posted a video diary by Hamish and Susie with some highlights from the lambing shed – including meeting some of the new arrivals. You can see the video diaries below.

The LambCam also streamed live action from the lambing shed from 6pm - 9pm on the evenings of Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th, Thursday 26th and Friday 27th March - the busiest days in the shed. 

We also kept you up-to-date with the live lambing action during the live streaming using the QMS twitter account and #QMSLambCam

The aim of the LambCam and video diaries was to give an insight into the realities of lambing on a family farm in Scotland – and, like any maternity unit around the country, there were inevitably challenges. The Dykes are members of our Quality Assurance Scheme which is one of the longest-running in the world and underpins the Scotch Lamb, Scotch Beef and Specially Selected Pork brands. Animal welfare is a very important aspect of this and QMS has recently launched an Animal Welfare and Wellbeing Charter.

For more information about visiting farms please visit the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) website or the Open Farm Sunday (June 7th 2015) website.

Our thanks to Chris Cotton at Farmers Eye for his help and assistance with the installation of the LambCam and to Catherine MacGregor Photography for producing the amazing daily video diaries!

  • Nowadays it’s only natural to want to know where your food comes from. However, we don’t always have time to study the back of every packet we pick up. Luckily, when it comes to choosing fresh or frozen lamb: you can simply look for the label that says Scotch Lamb PGI to be sure of quality in every bite.

  • The Dykes have been farming at South Slipperfield, near West Linton in Midlothian for over 60 years. It is a family business and Hamish runs the farm with his wife, Susie, and his parents, John and Kate, along with their two children Rosie and Murdo.

  • The QMS Animal Welfare and Wellbeing Charter recognises the five freedoms of animal welfare and wellbeing and is a guiding principle for all QMS assurance schemes, which are supported and approved by the Scottish SPCA, Scotland’s independent animal welfare charity.

Did you know?....

Open Farm Sunday is being held on Sunday 7 June 2015. Over 375 farms around the UK will open their doors to visitors this year. For further information about farms taking part near you visit

During lambing the Dykes will work around 17 hours a day, and will have a dedicated team member working the night shift!

If you are out walking and find a lamb sheltering behind rushes and tussocks it is usually best to leave it alone as it is very likely its mum knows where it is and will be distressed if it is not there when she gets back from grazing.

The QMS Quality Assurance Scheme covers the entire lifespan of animals. Animals must be born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland to be eligible. The schemes cover animals from farm to processing and include feed, auctions and transport.

The sheep believed to be the oldest in the world was Methuselina from Lewis who was 25 years and 11 months old when she died in 2009.

Sheep are pregnant for, on average, 147 days.

Most lambs in Scotland are born between February and late May. The timing of lambing reflects the arrival of spring and grass growth, so on the hills and mountains it starts later than on the upland and lower ground.

Slipperfield has approximately 950 ewes that are due to lamb in 2015

Ewe: a female sheep

Over 3 million lambs are born each year in Scotland.

Typically a ewe will have its first lambs when she is about two years old and then go on to have another five to six sets of lambs in her lifetime.

In 2009, an exceptional tup lamb was sold for £231,000. Deveronvale Perfection, bred in Banffshire, was bought by fellow local sheep farmer at a sale in Lanark.

Around 50,000 Scottish jobs depend on beef, lamb and pork production in Scotland.

Ram or Tup: uncastrated male sheep

Scottish farmers take pride in the quality of the beef, lamb and pork they produce. Scotch Beef was the first European red meat product to be granted European protected geographical Indication (PGI) status in 1996, closely followed by Scotch Lamb, These brands have earned global acclaim for flavour and quality.

The red meat (beef, lamb and pork) industry contributes over £2 billion to Scotland’s economy each year

Ramblers and dog walkers should be aware of pregnant ewes and young lambs when walking in fields during the lambing period.  Further guidance can be found here -

Scotland has more sheep than people! There were 5.3 million people in Scotland compared to over 6.5 million sheep in June 2013, according to the Scottish Government.

Lambing will last for approximately four weeks, from 20th March to 20th April and in that time around 1500 lambs are due to be born!

Family farms form the bedrock of our industry. Generations of animal husbandry skills underpin the production of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork

The Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) organises farm visits and classroom talks to promote food, farming and the countryside to schoolchildren in Scotland. Find out more on their website

Wether: a castrated male lamb

Shearling: a sheep that has been shorn for the first time, at about 15 months of age. After its second shearing (a year later) if is referred to a two shear and so on

Hogg: a lamb that that is yet to be shorn (this usually happens for the first time the summer after they are born)

Gimmer: a young female sheep yet to have her first lambs