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Home for lost lambs

Lambs feeding at the orphanage. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

SUE TEODORO
[email protected]

As the first orphan of 2021 arrives, a Carterton lamb orphanage is gearing up for another busy year.

Carterton resident Jacqui Friedrichs didn’t set out to foster needy newborn lambs, but that is how it has turned out.

The first lamb of 2021 arrives at the orphanage.

The first baby lamb of the season arrived on Friedrich’s farm near Ponatahi a few days ago, and she sent a call out on social media for another lamb to befriend it.

“Keeping one little one is hard as they don’t like to be left alone, so if I can find another to keep her company, it would be awesome.

“If anyone knows of another orphan looking for a good home, please message me. I’m happy to collect the little one from Masterton to Featherston,” she wrote.

Friedrichs said when she and her husband moved on to their farm in 2016, she knew nothing about farming. When the lambs started arriving a year later, it had been a steep learning curve.

“Thank goodness for my neighbour. He has been absolutely awesome.”

She described how the experienced farmer had been available at all hours to give advice and help.

“The first year, I had eight or nine orphans,” she said.

Since then, as her reputation grew, the number of calls increased. In the second year, she had 20 lambs and last year, 41.

She was expecting another busy year and had been surprised when the first one arrived this week.

“It was very early,” she said, saying the first orphans had previously arrived in August.

She said fostering newly born and young lambs was time-consuming.

“They need three to four meals a day, more if they are sick. They are animals, and they need love,” she said.

Friedrichs said the most common reason for lambs becoming orphans was if the ewe died or had triplets.

“If a mum has three, only two can feed. One must be hand-fed.”

The orphans are fed with fresh cow’s milk, straight from a cow on the Friedrichs’ farm.

She said the lambs were brought in by farmers and others without time to look after them. The Friedrichs’ themselves keep a small flock.

Some of the lambs end up joining the flock when they are big enough, while others have become family pets.

“I absolutely love the babies. I’d rather have them here with me than have them left to their fate. As long as I’m prepared for them, I can deal with them,” she said.

“At least these lambs will have a chance.”

Friedrichs had repurposed the farm’s unused stables for the orphans, with different areas for each age group and a separate area for high need candidates.

Friedrichs will collect orphan lambs from areas from Featherston to Masterton by arrangement. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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