7 min read

Guy Can't Stop Saving Orphaned Baby Lambs

“It's filled a hole that we didn't know existed."

Ward Young never intended to adopt Louis the lamb — he only planned on fostering him. But there was something about Louis’ sweet, fleece-covered self that wormed his way into Young’s heart.

Earlier this year, volunteers from Melbourne Sheep Save, an organization that rescues sheep in Victoria, Australia, rescued Louis from a local farm after Louis’ mom died giving birth to his sibling.

Portrait of rescue lamb
Louis shortly after he came to live with Young and his fiancée | Ward Young

“We decided that we wanted to treat him like a king, given that his first day of life was so miserable,” Young, a paramedic and independent animal rescuer, told The Dodo.

Young and his fiancée Georgie Purcell bottle-fed Louis to help him grow big and strong — and in the process, they both fell in love with Louis.  

Man holding rescue lamb in his arms
Kelly Dinham

“When you spend time with a lamb, they get so excited at seeing you and receiving bottles,” Young said. “Their tails flick around a million miles an hour. They are really just like pet dogs, but unfortunately people don't see them that way.”

Lamb drinking milk from bottle
Ward Young

As soon as Louis got a little bigger, he started racing around the acreage Young and Purcell bought earlier this year.

“He is such a kind and loving boy,” Young said. “When he sees our car come down the driveway, he sprints up to the gate to meet us. Really, lambs absolutely love human interaction, but on massive farms they so rarely receive it. So we're just glad that we can give him the love he craves.”

Man carrying rescued lamb on his shoulders
Young carrying Louis over his shoulders | Ward Young

Young loved Louis so much, he and his fiancée decided to extend their lamb family. “We saw how many lambs were being found orphaned, so we thought the right thing to do was adopt more,” Young said.

Woman holding three rescued lambs
Purcell holding three of their rescued lambs | Ward Young

In Australia — as well as other parts of the world — lambs face a multitude of issues on farms, and many of them die before they get the chance to grow up. In Australia alone, it’s estimated that 15 million lambs die within 48 hours of their birth, often because they’re exposed to cold weather.

Man bottle feeding tiny lamb while another lamb watches
Ward Young

Young and Purcell now have six lambs in their family — Louis, Henry, Lance, Grace, Jeremy and Ashton — who were all rescued from farms.

Lambs sleeping in dog beds in front of fireplace
Ward Young

“Ashton, who is our most recent lamb, is probably taking the most room in our heart at the moment,” Young said. “He's such a dear little guy and is very vocal — he doesn't baa but he mumbles when he gets excited like he's try to talk to you.”

Man holding rescued lamb in his arms
Ward Young

Raising a family of lambs hasn’t come without its challenges. Young and Purcell have had to put a lot of money into their property, building fences and installing troughs. And caring for newborns can often be a full-time job.

Man preparing bottles for newborn lambs
Young preparing bottles of milk to feed the lambs | Ward Young

“During their first few weeks of life, it can be four to five bottles a day, which can make it a lot of work,” Young said. “But it works well with me being a shift worker and my fiancée sometimes works from home, so there is always someone there.”

Woman holding fuzzy rescued lamb
Purcell holding Ashton, the latest lamb to join their family | Ward Young

All of the lambs get along (some of whom are now sheep), although Louis and Lance have a particularly strong bond. “The boys absolutely just love each other's company, running around with each other, playing and eating,” Young said.

Lambs getting into trouble by chewing toilet paper
Ward Young

Besides the six lambs, Young and Purcell have also have two horses, Alfie and Dudley, and four rescue cats, Kitty, Alice, Clementine and Stanford. But it’s the lambs whom Young has a particularly soft spot for.

Rescue horse nuzzling a lamb
Ward Young

“It's filled a hole that we didn't know existed,” Young said. “These beautiful animals just have so much love to give and we are richer for having them. We wouldn't change a thing.”

To see more photos of Louis and the other lambs, you can follow his Instagram account. To learn how you can help sheep and lambs in Australia, you can follow Melbourne Sheep Save on Facebook. You can also help rescue more farm animals by making a donation to Edgar’s Mission, a farm sanctuary in Victoria, Australia.