It looked to be only slightly bigger than a large ball of wool. A half-frozen lump left in the paddock by its mother after she gave birth to triplets. Peter Graham of Yass, who was in the process of moving down to his new property at Stockdale, Victoria, saw the ewe give birth.
Sheep, perhaps in retaliation for the fact the majority of them end up roasted, chopped or completely stewed, almost always give birth on the coldest nights/mornings in the paddock furthest away from warm human beds.
Later, Peter noticed mum and two of the lambs had gone, leaving only the runt flailing about in the paddock. As he walked closer, the lamb got up, so Peter presumed he was OK.
The next morning, he noticed that it wasn’t. When Peter saw mum and the two other babies heading off across the paddock without their brother, he knew it was in trouble.
“It was about half the size of the others,” Peter said. “He was also quite sluggish from being there overnight – it would have been about zero because there was frost on the ground.
“I wrapped him up in a blanket and took him inside the house. He didn’t struggle when I picked him, so I just tucked him under my arm.
“I honestly thought he had very little chance of surviving the first night, but I set the alarm and got up every couple of hours to feed him.”
The next thing he knew, Peter was wishing he had shares in the milk replacement industry, buying gallons of the stuff for the newly christened Lambcelot. The barely days’ old lamb was skulling it back as if last drinks had been called.
Thus began the life of Lambcelot – the really good life.
His cold, unfeeling early childhood now over, Lambcelot, today, clearly rules the roast.
He has recently graduated from nappy nappies – the one designed for human babies – into, don’t tell anyone, adult diapers. Peter had to do something to save the floor and carpets.
Lambcelot can now take a running jump up onto Peter’s bed, which Lambcelot now shares with his best mate, young Bob the dog.
Bess, the other dog, which is about 100 times older than Lambcelot (in dog years), generally gives them both THE look and goes back to sleep.
He calls out when he wants to be fed (Lambcelot, not Peter or Bob) and loves driving around in the car for no apparent reason. He’s made the seven-hour trip from Yass to Stockdale several times now, preferring the back seat where he can stretch out – definitely wearing two nappies for the occasion. It turns out, human nappies don’t take into account the specific needs of lambs’ dangly bits.
He also likes butting human legs, following anyone with a bucket – regardless of whether it has anything in it – and executing a near-Olympic perfect gambol.
He is also clearly a cultured sheep. One of his favourite reclining positions is next to the complete hardcover version of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Or under the grand piano, depending on his mood.
The rest of the family, fellow older poddies, Lamborgini, Angela Lambsbury and Lambington, are slowly knitting a relationship with the young bloke as are chooks Susan, Sarah and Kirsten along with Bob the dog and, sometimes, Bess. Everyone was rescued, rehabilitated, rehomed – or in some way brought back to life by Peter and his partner Geoff Lewis.
Although Lambcelot is now well beyond the danger period – in terms of surviving his icy childhood – the prospect of not fitting under the piano is a very real possibility if his feeds continue with anything else but grass.
“He’s about four times heavier than he was, so maybe now it’s time for him to stay outside for longer periods – which, hopefully, will get him off the bed at night. ”
Stay tuned for Chapter 2 – Convincing Lambcelot he is a sheep.