Our Yorkshire Farm Amanda Owen hits back at critics over parenting ‘Family is complete

Amanda Owen discusses her parenting skills with Ben Fogle

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Amanda Owen, 46, lives with her husband Clive Owen and nine children on a farm in Ravenseat, Swaledale. The Shepherdess opened up to Ben Fogle on an episode of Return to the Wild Channel 5 about the way she brings up her children whilst working on the farm and the backlash she has faced over the years.

Whilst outside with Amanda her children, Ben asked youngest daughter Clemmy, five, what she had in her hand, to which she replied: “The hoof pick!”

She went on to explain to Ben: “We get his hoof and lift it up, put it on our knee to hold the leg up and we take all the muck out with this and then we brush it afterwards with this.”

Feeling proud of her daughter, Amanda praised: “Good girl! Can you remember what you call the underneath of his hoof?” and Clemmy replied: “Frog!”

Seeing how well Amanda and her children communicated around the farm, Ben asked: “Amanda how do you weigh up this motherly instinct to protect and this extraordinary ability you have to let these guys get on with it?”

“It’s about, I suppose, take a bit of a measured approach and looking at the possibilities, what are the possibilities of whatever they’re doing resulting in instant death.

“If the chances are that it’s all going to go fine and they’re going to gain more from the experience than they’re gonna lose then let them get on with it.”

She continued: “They have to learn from their own mistakes, Clemmie might get a foot trodden on, she might get her bottom bitten but apart from that, that’s as far as it goes.

“What they’re actually getting is valuable life lessons and the ability to build to do things and I mean that is what it’s all about.”

Ben went on to ask: “Do you ever have people disapprove of your parenting style?”

“Oh god yeah!” Amanda quipped immediately, prompting Ben to reply: “How does that make you feel?”

“You can’t keep everyone happy no matter what you do,” Amanda responded.

She went on: “That is the absolute truth but as long as the children are happy, and I am convinced of the benefits of whatever it is they are doing and how they’re being brought up then I’m not going to change my ways.

“It’s not about being a smug parent, that’s another thing I should add you know, I’m not a parenting guru, I’m just making it up as I go along,” she joked to Ben.

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Looking back on when he first arrived at their farm, Ben said: “I don’t know if you were being serious, you said the breeding’s over,” with Amanda laughing at the statement.

He continued: “It’s kind of a ridiculous question in some ways but it would be silly not to ask you when you have so many children and lots of them are starting to leave, do you think you might ever have more?

“I would say that the family is complete now but there never was a plan, not really, that kind of isn’t the way that we operate.

“Of course, roughly a plan of how we’d like things to go but the best-laid plans and all that usually don’t come to fruition,” she exclaimed.

Previously in the episode, Amanda also spoke about the devastating time she faced when she had to watch a flock of her sheep be taken away and slaughtered after contracting foot and mouth disease.

Amanda opened up to Ben and told him: “I think at that point it would be the time we felt the most isolated and the most remote and to look out the bedroom window and to see the Cumbrian sheep being gathered and taken away to be slaughtered, and realising we were that one step away from losing everything.

“Just horrendous, we lost a third of our flock because we send sheep away during the winter so all the sheep we sent away, they never came back.

Ben visited Amanda and Clive Owen’s farm in Ravenseat to see how they live their lives and run their farm. 

He stayed on their farm in a shepherd’s hut to learn how they function around the farm with their nine children. 

Our Yorkshire Farm will return to Channel 5 this autumn
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