Mary the little lamb has a new home in Huntsville thanks to the power of social media.
She had a rough start to life, having been rejected by her mother after birth. But several hundred kilometres away, on the same night, Helen the ewe had just lost her newborn lamb.
Helen’s keeper, Pam Carnochan, was devastated. It was a cold night, colder than Carnochan expected, and she wasn’t in the rhythm of lambing, she says. By the time she found Helen’s newborn early in the morning, the lamb had succumbed to the cold despite the heat lamp in the barn. “I had to own it because I should have been up in the middle of the night and I wasn’t.”
That morning, she put out a call on social media: Did anyone know of an orphaned or rejected lamb that Helen could raise?
A cousin of Carnochan’s husband saw the call and put the question to her friend, sheep farmer Sandi Brock (@sheepishly.me on Instagram) of Shepherd Creek Farms near West Perth. The farm did indeed have a lamb, born the same night, that had been rejected. Carnochan’s sister, Darlene, who lives closer to that area, rushed to the farm to pick up the lamb. Carnochan headed south to meet them half way. With the new lamb nestled in the back seat of her car, she turned toward home, hoping for the best.
“Every timed I turned a corner, I’d hear a little ‘baaaa’ from the back,” says Carnochan.
At first, Helen didn’t take to the new lamb. Carnochan tried rubbing some afterbirth on Mary so that she would smell like Helen’s natural lamb, to limited success. But Helen did let the new lamb suckle, a promising sign that also gave little Mary some strength. In a moment of inspiration, Carnochan squirted some of Helen’s milk on the new babe.
“All the sudden the baby smelled like her,” says Carnochan. Helen accepted Mary as her own.
Photos: Pam Carnochan
The pair are now bonding under the watchful eye of barn-mate, Lindsay, another ewe.
Helen “has been the greatest mom ever since,” says Carnochan. “She is the nicest, sweetest little mama. It was a bit of an Easter miracle, it really was…I’m grateful that we were able to find another lamb quickly.”
The small flock of sheep live at Morgan House, a bed and breakfast east of Huntsville, where Pam also has a fibre art studio. She uses the fleece from her sheep to create “watercolour with wool“.
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