Raising a Pet Sheep: The First Year

A true pet story, the only difference is the pet is not a cat, or a dog, it is a sheep. How one lamb was not only lucky to be alive, but also became a pet.

January 11, 2009, it was a cold and windy winter day in Alberta, Canada. Temperatures were below freezing and there was a wind chill. A few days earlier a set of twin lambs had been born and it was their first day going outside in a small pen. My daughter and I had decided to go out and check on them and to take their photograph.

My daughter went out first and immediately knew something was wrong. She heard the familiar baah sound made by new lambs as they called for their mom. It wasn’t the twins we already had, it was another two lambs, both still wet. There was a white one, she was standing, and a black one laying down with the sack still partially on it. Two new baby girls, with no mom to be found.

For a moment we were not even sure which ewe they belonged too as none of our usually good moms was showing any interest. It turns out they belonged to a ewe who we were not even aware was pregnant. Her name was Favorite because of her friendly disposition. Sadly she had earlier suffered a stroke, she was thin and had given no indication of being pregnant. The lambs were smaller than they should have been so certainly the birth was premature. Favorite, perhaps because of the stroke, or the stress on her body, wandered off. We realised these were her lambs because she had some placenta hanging out of her (this is normal for a sheep that just delivered).

We got the two lambs and mom into the barn. It was a rush to get them warmed up and dried off.  The one above had ears that were so cold, but she was the stronger of the two.  The black lamb had to be taken into the house to be warmed up.  All three of us, myself, my husband, and daughter, had jobs to do.

Poor Favorite had no milk. which meant we had two options. One: The vet could give her an injection to help her produce milk. Two: We could bottle feed the lambs, an expensive venture being that sheep powder milk is about $50 a bag, the lambs need regular feedings for at least 2 to 3 months.

We decided to bottle feed the lambs. Favorite’s thin body wouldn’t be forced to tax itself for the sake of saving a little work and money. She still loved her lambs and was talking to them in a sweet sheep sort of way. As such they did not need to be kept in the house.

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  1. So cute sheep

  2. So cute sheep :)

  3. Very enjoyable post. We have had the same experience with goats with one additional problem. We were lucky to have frozen colustrom on hand since goats do not produce it in the womb…only in the udder the first 36 hours after kidding.

  4. Very well written and full of good information!

  5. This is the first time I saw a picture of a real black sheep. I wish I could also have a pet lamb. But I think it’s quite expensive especially if like in your case you have to bottle feed it. :D

  6. What a wonderful story! You and your family work so hard, what lucky sheep! The pics are beautiful.

  7. Excellent story and pics!

  8. Very interesting and enjoyable to read. Great writing and pictures.

  9. What a wonderful article, thanks for sharing.

  10. This was a wonderful post. I enjoy learning about your farm and your sleep. Loved the pictures.

  11. Great story.

    Inna

  12. What an interesting story about your pet sheep. Lucky you to live on a farm and have all the joy of pet animals.

  13. I am glad you can save them both.

  14. Great story, sounds almost like having a human baby – twins at that.

  15. Allow me to say, Brenda that you really have a heart for animals. nice article..

  16. That’s a wonderful story and cute also :)

  17. Great write! enjoyed it.

  18. I really enjoyed reading this article.

  19. This is interesting. I have never raised a sheep and would never know how to raise one.

  20. Nice share and a beautiful share Thank you friend :)

  21. What a lovely story! I have blogged this over at http://www.webphemera.com

  22. Nice share…I enjoyed it….

  23. Very interesting post! I recognize the picture of feeding the lambs with your old coat from last year. I’ve done the bottle baby routine with a lot of animals: rabbits, cats, dogs, and calves. The littlest ones do take a lot of attention.

  24. to cute a piece.
    What a grand life you have.
    Being around animals and there young.
    struggle it is,but very rewarding

  25. Feeding is one thing but what about all that poop? Huggies or pampers?

  26. I have raised calves before and I kept 2 of them as pets. One is a Hereford that has given me 4 babies so forth. The other one is a Holstein that has her 2nd one now. This year one of my sheep dropped a baby girl and walked away. She turned 22 days old today. The problem with her is that she thinks she is a dog. I have to tie her down at night otherwise she will follows my dogs at night when they are chasing the predators away. I love her very much. She follows me every where. She jumps in the front seat of the car just like a dog. I was interested in watching the video on your sheep there such a think or I misread the article? Anyway, I loved your story. I will probably read it again.
    Thanks again.
    Reza

  27. indeed, you have a loving heart for the animals. this cute little sheep in here is lucky to have a loving master. thanks for sharing this! :)

  28. Loved the story.

    This article has been judged for the Triond Roll Call Contest by Nelson Doyle.

  29. We are bottle feeding a baby since last Sunday, Mom doesn’t have milk but she cares about her baby.
    Reading your story helped me a lot, thank you so much.
    Maria Sommer
    Stephenville, Texas

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