Two rare lambs have been born in a Dorset petting zoo after an ewe jumped into a ram enclosure. As the farm is currently in the middle of the lambing season, these two hybrid-breed lambs were born outside of the anticipated schedule. The farm is now holding a competition to find names for both the new arrivals and their mother.
This unexpected arrival occurred when their mother, an unnamed Shetland ewe, found her way into the neighboring enclosure of Hank, the Valais ram.
Approximately six months ago, the Shetland ewe reportedly leaped over the fence into Hank’s enclosure.
It took only a few hours of their encounter for the pair to conceive.
Sandra Palmer-Snellin, the farm’s director, said: “We’ve got a number of different types of sheep and goats here on the farm.
“The Valais are quite impressive sheep, with black faces and a lovely thick fleece.
“The Shetland sheep are kept in a separate pen, but one of the females must have been full of the joys of spring and quite determined.
“It was a while before she was spotted, so we had our suspicions.”
Due to the significant size difference between Hank and the female ewe, it was believed that the ewe’s presence may have gone unnoticed when she was in the pen with Hank.
In the subsequent weeks, the farm staff observed that the ewe’s size was increasing, and her teats were becoming more pronounced.
Ms Palmer-Snellin said: “We were confident that lambs were coming.”
“You only need a couple of hours for the deed to be done, so we only realized when a couple of weeks ago she gave birth to the cutest little lambs.”
The lambs, she added, are “so sweet” and “look a bit like calves because of the breed mix”.
“Hank’s genetics are definitely dominant because they have lovely black faces,” she added.
“We didn’t have any plans to put the parents together. But nature found its own way and we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how lovely the lambs are. The ewe is a very proud mummy.
“We think visitors will really enjoy seeing this new breed of sheep and it’s just in time for the half-term holiday.”
Farmer Palmer’s was previously a working dairy farm, but 25 years ago, the family made the decision to transform it into a petting zoo attraction.