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.

The first feeding was special milk, called colostrum, normally baby animals get this from their mother, it is her first milk and contains antibodies. We bought some from the veterinarian.

The bottle feeding routine began. Early morning feeding, another before leaving for work, one at lunch (forcing me to come home from work), one after work, one after dinner, and another before bed. After a few days I was able to eliminate the noon feeding. This was lots of work when you remember there were two lambs to be fed each time, and in the middle of winter too!

Another set of lambs was born that evening, it made it clear how much smaller these two were, but with time they grew. Gradually the bottle feedings were reduced and eventually stopped altogether. The nice thing about bottle fed lambs is that they remain friendly were as most lambs are unsure of humans (and well they should be I suppose). We did sell one of the two, as we cannot possibly keep them all. I selected the black one to keep.

Still without a name I often referred to her as Black Baby, merely as a description the same way we called one of her Aunts by the name of Diamond for the marking on her head, and the other one is known as Speckle, again for the markings.

In the summer her black coat faded to a brownish color. We don’t really do too much with the sheep in the summer, check them of course, but they don’t go into the barn any longer and pretty much have a good life, guarded by a donkey and llama.  Above in June of 2009, below in July of 2009.  Because she was a bottle baby she is not afraid when I approach with the camera. 

Late in the fall we got a ram. Fall is when you normally put rams in with sheep, and we did so later this year so no more January lambs. We are now aiming for March. Blackie Sheep is old enough to have her first lamb, or lambs, this spring. We have been making sure Favorite, her mom, gets extra food and attention too!

As winter set in I looked at an old Calendar and found Blackie’s birthday was fast approaching. Although the day was over cast I made a special trip out to take her photograph. She looks pretty messy doesn’t she? Even though no lambs are due we are keeping the sheep in the barn at night because we have had problems with predators (coyotes) in the winter in past years.

The final picture is of Blackie Sheep on her one year old birthday, January 11, 2010. I realized later that the time of day of this picture was probably very close to the time of day for her first picture. However, this day was much warmer, and my sheep no longer needed my special care.  

All photos by author and husband, not for reproduction.

Related Links

What Farm Animals can be Kept as Pets

The Exotic Jacob Sheep

How to Care for Bottle Baby Lambs

A Picture of Blackie Sheeps Father, the Ram with Four Horns

This article has been republished here.

Also feel free to check out my Sheep Blog.

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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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