It’s only been a week since we first shared the story of Edmund Pendleton, our inspirational little lamb. And the response we’ve received from so many of you has been truly overwhelming. As you can see, even Edmund is smiling at all the attention!
Edmund had a rough start to life. He was born with a bum leg, was rejected by his mother, and has been undergoing physical therapy and bottle feedings with our Coach & Livestock staff. But we are happy to report the little guy is getting stronger every day! In fact, he has started running, jumping, and can even scratch his ears with his leg just like the other lambs his age.
For those of you who haven’t been following this special lamb’s story, his mama (a first-time mother) instinctively knew something was wrong with him as soon as he was born. While she tended to his twin brother, she refused to accept Edmund as her own and it was our staff who cleaned him off, warmed him up, and filled his belly. That’s when they noticed something was clearly wrong—his back leg was swollen and he was having trouble standing.
The next day, a veterinarian fitted him for the cutest little splint you’ve ever seen. Immediately after it went on, Edmund became a completely different lamb and the first signs of his spunky personality bubbled to the surface. During a follow-up visit, the vet determined he had a birth defect in the joint which basically meant he had loose ligaments. With the help of the splint, Edmund was able to finally put some weight on his back leg and explore while strengthening his joint at the same time. Now, the splint is off and he’s getting to be pretty speedy in spite of his limp. I speak from personal experience, having chased him around the stables more than a few times!
Edmund is now entering the “toddler” stage which means he’s into everything, and we do mean everything. Not only do they have to keep a closer eye on him when he’s out for physical therapy, but when the staff takes him home each night, they have to make sure he doesn’t get into trouble.
During our photo shoot, Edmund was quick to nibble on Layne’s apron and try to snack on some wild buttercups. I say “try” because the reality is the only food he can digest right now is the milk from his bottle. He can’t eat grass until he’s big enough and strong enough to chew his own cud.
Layne Anderson, our shepherdess and lamb caretaker, tells me that could take a while. Edmund currently gets three bottles a day—well, most days that is. Let me let you in on a little secret. Over the weekend, there was a mix-up in communication when he was spending a night at the stables. Katharine, who portrays our young Martha Washington, visited him around 10 p.m. for a feeding. No sooner had she left than Layne showed up, and not knowing he’d already been fed, sleepily filled up another bottle. You can bet little Edmund didn’t have any complaints and neither Katharine nor Layne put two and two together until the next day!
It turns out that Edmund won’t be the only lamb getting this type of TLC. The mother of the triplets isn’t feeling 100% and is back in the stables taking it easy. It’s likely that her brood (all hefty ram lambs), will also need to be bottle-fed. And there’s a set of twins who have apparently been caught stealing milk from another ewe and will need to be separated from the others. Eventually, Edmund will likely join all of these little ones in a central location but that won’t be for several more weeks, possibly longer. We know many of you have been eager for us to disclose that spot so you can see the little guy in person. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts where we’ll pass along any and all updates!
Once Edmund is out to pasture, he should be fairly easy to spot. In addition to his limp, he will be a bit smaller than the rest of the flock—and will likely be that way his entire life. He weighed just a little more than six pounds at birth, making him the tiniest lamb of the season. That’s compared to our largest ram lam who tipped the scales at 13.5 pounds!
But don’t feel sorry for little Edmund. Not only is he getting quite a bit of extra attention, Layne says she has big plans for the little guy. She hopes that he will join the four wethers she often walks down DoG Street each day to the Market House. That means if you’re planning a summer vacation, you’re likely to run into him in the Historic Area!
For now, his assignment is still to rest… and recover. And being a social media superstar is hard work. Just minutes after putting him back in his pen following our photo shoot, Edmund was passed out. No doubt he was dreaming of his new fame and frolicking with friends.
If you’d like to help in Edmund’s recovery, please take the time to click on this link and make a donation. In the comments, please type: “Restricted gift for the Rare Breeds Program” to ensure your generosity goes to help all of our sheep, chicken, cattle, and horses! You can give as much or as little as your heart sees fit.
Just to give you a little perspective, Director of Coach and Livestock Paul Bennett says that on average, it costs about $250,000 a year to support our heritage breeds. That includes food, routine upkeep, and medical care. So we mean it when we say that every dollar helps!
Just in case you can’t get enough of this little guy, I leave you with a slide show of “bonus” images of our favorite little lamb, showcasing his journey from day one! A special thanks to photographer Fred Blystone who captured many of these adorable moments for us to share with all of you.