Bottle feed a baby lamb

Lambs and ewes in English countrysideThis week my twins were thrilled by the experience of bottle feeding some baby lambs. Usually I’m the one in our family that gets rather excited by the sight of baby lambs in the English countryside. It just gives me that spring feeling and makes me think they just look right “In England’s green and pleasant Land” (quoting from William Blake’s poem). Indeed sheep are Britain’s oldest domestic animal, able to survive the harshest winters and trim our mountains, hills, moors and fields perfectly with their grazing.

But it’s not always easy for baby lambs. Some are orphaned or an ewe may not have enough milk if she’s had triplets or more. Some farmers have worked out cunning methods to get other ewes to foster lambs – even using perfume to disguise an orphan lamb.

Baby Lambs Sheep Centre East DeanOr you can get families to pay by lining up in a long queue and taking turns to bottle feed young lambs in a 17th century Sussex flint barn. My twins and I happily and willingly stood in this line.

In fact I think it’s important for my children to come into contact with farm animals and learn about the care they need. Moreover just bottle feeding a young lamb will give them a better understanding of compassion, responsibility as well as empathy for animals in the countryside.

We had been busy fossil hunting, rock pooling and walking on the East Sussex coast this week when we passed a large sign saying there were bottle feed times twice daily at the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre in East Dean. The next morning we joined the rows of cars parked in the field outside the entrance. We were in time for the morning bottle feed of the ‘orphan’ lambs. A poster explained why these young ones needed to be individually given milk. I’m not sure who was more excited the kids or the thirsty lambs!Orphan lamb drinking from milk bottleBottle feeding baby lambBottle fed lamb reasonsIt’s actually a working sheep farm. It’s also been turned into an attraction as a family day out during the spring and summer seasons. Personally I view this as a win-win situation as it helps a farm survive while educating children about farm animals. As well as bottle feeding the baby lambs, the Seven Sisters sheep centre has a playground, a cafe and all sorts of animals to keep adults as well as children entertained. Luce and Theo insisted on going on the tractor ride. I soon learnt this meant a beautiful view of the South Downs but way too bumpy for taking photos. Tractor ride and geeseLambs eating hay

There were also South American alpacas in the field and in a stable. Did you know that the British Alpaca Society has 1400 members representing 35,000 alpacas in the UK? Blake definitely wasn’t considering them when he wrote in the same poem “And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England’s mountains green.”Alpaca at Sheep Centre East Dean

Everywhere the cute factor was in full mode. There were tiny baby lambs bonding with their mothers in individual pens. Even a piglet who was the runt of the litter slept alongside other newborn lambs in a pen with heat lamps. Baby lamb and ewesBaby Lambs suckling eweBaby Lambs two days oldRunt piglet sleepingWhen we bought our tickets I also purchased little bags of feed. Later my son ran back to buy some more with his pocket money as he was so thrilled at feeding the sheep! The ewes in the pen outdoors were also rather eager for some more treats.Feeding South Downs sheepEwes sheep centre East DeanIt was rather wonderful watching Luce and Theo interact with all the animals at this sheep farm.

Bottle feed baby orphan lambPetting baby lambSo next spring I’ll once again be stopping at every chance to gaze at my idyllic view of the countryside when the baby lambs reappear. I won’t be surprised if Luce and Theo suggest we also find some orphan lambs to bottle feed so they’re fit and strong to mow England’s pastoral land.

22 thoughts on “Bottle feed a baby lamb”

  1. It’s great that Luce and Theo got the opportunity to explore the farm and have some hands on fun! It’s the perfect time to be visiting farm parks to help feed the baby lambs, Jack and Jill our orphaned lambs are definitely the guests highlight of the feed run at the moment. It’s fab that they have such an array of animals for everyone to meet and play with. Thanks for linking over to us and thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

  2. Oh what an amazing place to visit and how lovely that you could bottle feed the animals. I never knew that sheep are the oldest domestic animal in England! 🙂 #countrykids

  3. Kriss this looks like a great day out, and you have captured some incredible images (as ever!). Thank you for sharing, and glad you had such a successful trip. x

  4. This is so lovely! What a wonderful experience for the kids! I have to agree with you there – there are cuteness overload everywhere! I just want to cuddle them. It is great that the kids get to feed the animals as you have said they also learn about other aspect of life: compassion, responsibility as well as empathy for animals in the countryside. Such a great day out for the kids – I love that your son is using his own pocket money to get more feeds. He have already shown this aspect. Beautiful! x #CountryKids

  5. Oh, what a wonderful thing for the twins to be able to do (and you!). I think you’re right, it’s really important that kids know about farming. Gorgeous photos, and adorable lambs. Happy spring!

  6. Hi Kriss, the Seven Sisters Sheep Centre looks like a really fun and educational place to take the children. Getting up close with animals is a sure way to learn and when children are doing something that is fun, they are more inclined to ask questions and learn.

    It is sad that the lambs find themselves having to be bottle fed, but I’m sure they are none the wiser and enjoy every bit of attention they get.

    Your photos are lovely too.


  7. That does seem like a win win situation for both the farm and the public. How lucky for you all that you saw the sign and got to feed the lambs. Living in an area without sheep (well that’s not strictly true as there are scraggy mountain sheep not too far away) I miss seeing lambs in springtime. They really are the perfect symbol of spring in England. (The scraggy mountain sheep near here are not fluffy and I’ve never seen lambs, though I guess they must reproduce…)

  8. Getting to bottle feed lambs is the best and I got to help out a neighbour recently – bliss. How nice to read about a farm that is diversifying to survive – it sounds like a great place to visit and a fabulous way to bring children and animals together for a greater understanding of where our food comes from and how hard farmers work to get it to us. #AnimalTales

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