A rural insurance expert is urging the public to help ease the burdens faced by farmers across the country during the busy lambing and calving season.

Anderson Fossett, of rural insurance broker Lycetts, has called on walkers, ramblers and families visiting the countryside to be mindful of the additional pressures that livestock farmers face at this time of year.

Mr Fossett has cautioned against the allure of interacting with newborn farm animals, highlighting the potential risks involved. 

“The desire to pet or feed cute young animals is natural, yet overlooking the consequences of such actions can be hazardous,” he said.

“Approaching these animals is ill-advised as their protective parents might perceive it as a threat, potentially leading to aggressive responses. A cow may look placid, but there is no way of knowing its temperament.

“It’s prudent to avoid any actions that could lead to distress or pose a risk of injury just for a moment’s photo opportunity.”

Approaching newborn lambs in fields poses significant dangers as it can also distress the ewe, potentially leading to maternal rejection. Handling them may leave human scent, making the lamb vulnerable to predators. Additionally, human interaction can transmit diseases, posing health risks to both the lambs and the visitors.

Mr Fossett also stressed the importance of using public right of way and marked paths only, and of planning walking routes in advance to avoid the temptation to cut across fields if lost.

“Walkers should also be aware that farmers may have deliberately left gates open – or closed – to control livestock movement, so the public should leave them as they find them.

“There have been a number of incidents where dogs have triggered cattle to attack and so it is vital that walkers ensure their pets are on a lead whenever in the presence of livestock.

“It can be a very stressful period for farmers, many of whom work 18-hour days tending pregnant cows and sheep and newborns.”

“Through increased awareness and responsible actions, the public can significantly contribute to a safe and productive season for both the agricultural community and countryside enthusiasts alike,” added Mr Fossett.