Sheep, like humans, naturally give birth to only one baby at a time. Twins or triplets are the exception. In the farming industry, however, ewes are selectively bred to have multiple births. Being forced to give birth in the cold winter months, instead of Spring, already makes it difficult for a ewe to look after her baby. On top of that, she usually has at least 2, if not 3, to look after. The result is that at least one will usually be abandoned because she is unable to look after them all. This is no fault of the ewe but is done in order to help at least one of her babies survive. The lambs who are abandoned stand no chance of survival on their own. They usually die from hypothermia and/or malnutrition within the first 48 hours of life. This is the fate of between 10 and 15 million newborn lambs every year on Australian farms. Despite this loss, it is still more profitable for farmers to selectively breed for multiple births and have these losses than it is to allow the ewes to do what is natural and have only one baby at a time.
Alfie and Murray are 2 such lambs. Born as 2 of triplets both were abandoned and found by someone who cared enough to deliver them to a local vet who contacted Lamb Care Australia. Although Alfie is doing well, Murray is very flat but we are doing everything in our power to ensure that he survives and leads a happy and long life with his brother, unlike the millions who die alone and cold in the middle of a paddock.