Ewe Scanning at High Force Farm, Raydaleside, Semer Water, Yorkshire Dales

Sunday 25th January was the date for this year’s pregnancy scanning day at High Force Farm, Raydaleside. This annual event enables our neighbours at High Force and Kevin, who farms land at High Blean House, to manage their flocks better, by knowing what each ewe is carrying and which ewes are geld [not pregnant].

The day started with Kevin driving his flock down to High Force Farm, where the scanning was to take place.

Swaledale ewes on their way to be scanned for pregnancy at High Force Farm Raydaleside Yorkshire Dales

Swaledale Rainbow Nation

Once at High Force they were put into a large holding pen, to await their turn to be scanned.

The scanner uses ultrasound and is just like the ones used on humans to assess the progress of a human child.

Scanning of Swaledale Ewes for pregnancy at High Force Farm Raydaleside Yorkshire Dales

Adrian sat behind the trap.



The scanner is applied by Adrian, who sits at ground level while the ewes are held in the trap. His experience means he can quickly determine if the ewe is geld or in lamb and if in lamb with how many. He does this by looking at the screen while moving the scanner over the ewes abdomen.

Ultra sound scanner screen for seeing how many lambs, if any, are present.

Scanner Screen: practice means quick and accurate reading


While the scanning trap has an automatic spray system [see array of spray cans on photo above] which will spray a mark to denote geld, one, two or triplets, Margaret prefers to use her own marking system.

In order to get the large number of ewes through the scanner as quickly as possible, the ewes are fed down to the scanner like a production line, before being let out into the yard and from there back into the fields. Ewes, carrying their first lamb and those carrying triplets, are kept separate, to either   stay on lower ground or to be housed indoors. This ensures the sheep do not lose condition over the winter, which would result in a high mortality rate for the lambs.

Here is a short video showing the ewes in their pens waiting to go through the scanner. The process is painless but they are not keen on going into the stall and are quick to exit once they have been scanned.

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