About midway through lambing, a large male lamb and his little brother arrived to the sheep shed.
Their mother did not have enough milk, so these guys needed to be bottle-fed until a different ewe lost a lamb, or two, and an adoption opportunity presented itself.
The smaller lamb hit gold straight away; he had hardly landed in the sheep shed when another ewe had twins.
One was born dead and he was quickly scooted in its stead and voila, a perfect relationship was formed.
So with one pet lamb, I asked the girls “What will we call this guy so?”
Without skipping a beat or discussing possibilities with Katy, Nelly announced “Jones”.
A few days later, he was joined briefly by another little lamb whom I suggested christening Tom.
I thought having Tom Jones in the shed would be cool. It gave me a giggle, but Nelly, ignorant of the suave pop icon, informed me it was “Jones and Tom, Mum!”
Tom found a new mum pretty quickly too, so I was back to humming Mr Jones and Me… from the Counting Crows 1990’s hit.
The kids absolutely love playing and spending time with the pet lambs.
And while having a pet lamb seems great and cute to the outside world, it is in fact a huge amount of time-consuming work.
In previous years, we lambed indoors and any pet lambs or the third triplet was trained on to an automatic milk feeder.
However, since we have switched the flock to easy-cares, there are very few pet lambs.
In fact, this year, Jones is the only one, so Michael has sold his automatic milk feeding machine.
Pet lambs need to be fed very regularly, especially at the start. In this respect, Jones landed on his feet.
He was born during lockdown, the period of homeschooling and everybody being home all the time.
So Jones was fed by every passing person - me, Michael, Nelly, Katy and their cousins.
Every time someone passed him he was fed. I honestly thought he was going to burst.
When all the kids returned to school, we moved Jones up to hang out with the hens in the main yard.
This would make it handier to dash over and feed him between the usual daily madness.
Initially, the hens were terrified of him. Pet lambs are divils for following you around and nearly tripping you up the whole time.
The first morning, I was letting out the hens and there he was, in the hen paddock.
After dropping their ramp down, I stepped in the door to fetch the eggs.
Dearg [hen] was casually making her way out followed by the rest of the flock when suddenly there was enormous squawking and a flurry of beating wings so loud it rivalled a jet engine starting.
The sawdust flew around me like a Sahara sand storm. I could hardly see. Pandemonium and panic erupted in the hen house.
I looked behind me. Baaaaaaa… The hens had discovered the horror of a pet lamb! It was funny.
After a few days the hens settled down. Jones only head-butted them occasionally when he felt a bit of madness overcome him.
He thoroughly enjoyed squeezing his big fat belly through their pop-hole and gobbling up as much hen food as he could.
By mid-May, he was getting too big and bold to be confined to the hen paddock and he is now out with his own kind.
He gallops up to the gate, bawling, to hoover down a bottle of milk and then he’s back to living his independent lifestyle!
The kids have had great fun with him and I am happy enough to keep humming!