A hungry lamb has found an unusual foster mother — a Shetland pony. Equine vet Georgina Hirst spotted the odd couple while out riding on Hay Bluff in Powys last week.

“The Shetland mare was feeding an orphan lamb, as well as her own foal — I thought I was imagining it at first,” Georgina told H&H.  “I’ve never seen anything like it — it’s amazing. And I’m surprised that a Shetland, not the most amenable of breeds, accepted the lamb so easily.”

She added that she often sees the foal and lamb “cuddled up asleep” while the mare stands guard.

But Georgina has since contacted the farmer, suggesting he bottle-feeds the lamb.

“It’s not normal at all, although nutritionally the pony’s milk is better than nothing. But I doubt she’d produce enough to sustain both her foal and the lamb for much longer,” she said.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (16 May 2013)