Shetland Pony adopts orphan lamb

Shetland Pony adopts orphan lamb
Image Copyright Georgina Hurst/BNPS
A Shetland pony adopted an orphaned lamb and even let it feed from her after it was left on its own in the wild.

The bond between the two animals is even more remarkable as the pony had a foal of its own that it was also feeding.

The mother pony even stood watch over the lamb at night in the Black Mountains in Wales.

 The Shetland pony mother allowed the orphaned lamb to feed from it despite rearing her own foal

More than 2,000 sheep and around 60 horses roam the hills in the south east of Wales and so when horse rider Georgina Hirst spotted the unlikely couple she thought her eyes were playing tricks on her.

Ms Hirst was riding on Hay Bluff when she saw the lamb feeding from the pony.

The equine vet from Hay on Wye said: 'I was out riding one day and I spotted a baby lamb feeding.

'The first time I saw it I couldn't quite believe it - I thought I might be imagining it.

'But then I saw it again and again over the space of about a week.

'It seemed the Shetland mare had adopted the orphaned lamb and was letting it feed from her.'

Ms Hirst said Shetlands are not normally amenable creatures and often struggle to rear foals.

The family were broken up when the mother could not provide enough milk for both youngsters

She said: 'The lamb was obviously hungry and it's quite amazing that it learnt to suckle from the mare. It might have just copied the foal.

'Trying to get mares to adopt foals can be very challenging so it's incredible the mare was so receptive of the lamb.

'She would even stand guard while the foal and the lamb slept cuddled together.'

However, despite the developing friendship, the vet decided to step in as it was clear the pony could not produce enough milk to sustain both her foal and the lamb.

The lamb had an identity mark on it and Ms Hirst was able to track down the farmer.

Ms Hirst said:'Both the lamb and the foal weren't looking as healthy as they should be due to a lack of food.

'The mare simply wasn't producing enough milk to feed the both of them.

'In the end we decided to flag up the problem to the farmer who took the lamb off the bluff to be bottle fed.'