Schoolgirl, Esther Whittingham, has a real affinity for sheep

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Esther Whittingham 12 with her sheep

NEWS AND VIEWS: Esther Whittingham is just 12 years of age but she bid for her first sheep at an auction when she was seven. She has been looking after her sheep and lambs ever since.

Esther Whittingham 12 with her sheep

Esther Whittingham 12 with her sheep. Photo: Iain Watts/Mercury Press.

She has even delivered lambs herself. She knows how to use a feeding tube which is put down the throat of a newborn lamb. She has a natural affinity for the animals and she clearly loves them. She has always loved to help her parents, Rachel and Grant at their Yew Tree Farm in Chester, UK.

Her father says that she is brilliant with the sheep and spends every minute that she can with them. He said, “Just this weekend she delivered her second season of lambs and she knew exactly what she was doing.”

Her parents let her do it all by herself for the first time last year and one have her friends came to watch. Her friend was gobsmacked at the proficiency she demonstrated in delivering the lamb. She loves them so much that she will go outside in her pyjamas to say goodnight to them.

Esther Whittingham 12 cuddles up to one of her sheep

Esther Whittingham 12 cuddles up to one of her sheep. Photo: Iain Watts/Mercury Press

When she is on the bus going to school she sends text messages to her parents to do certain jobs to look after the sheep.

She reads agricultural veterinary practice information and news in her spare time. Her hero is Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess who has a successful television programme and a large family.

Esther wanted to buy her first sheep when she saw a Greyface Dartmoor sheep at the Cheshire County Show, when she was seven. She asked her parents if she could buy one and months later she successfully bid for her first sheep at an auction.

She is now responsible for every aspect of their care including lambing, feeding, grooming and cleaning. Four of the sheep are registered under her name with the breed association. Her mother says that she smells of sheep all the time. Esther fell in love with sheep when her parents bought two lambs for the kids as pets when she was six.

The sheep love her in return. The parents say that when they walk into the field the sheep do not pay attention to their presence but when Esther walks in they come running over to her.

Comment: great! I love to see children loving animals. It is all good. It is good for animals, the future of animal welfare and it is good for humans too. Win-win.