Introducing Kevin, Harley, and Quinn – three lucky lambs who survived a rocky start in life and are now safe and sound at Farm Sanctuary.
Like the inspiring animal advocates for whom they’re named – filmmaker Kevin Smith and his daughter, actress and activist Harley Quinn Smith
– these triplets are truly ambassadors for compassion.
Today, the lambs are happily living the Farm Sanctuary life and have much to look forward to – but their future wasn’t always so bright. At just hours old, Kevin, Harley, and Quinn already faced a desperate situation. Their mother had given birth out in the cold during a rainstorm, and sadly passed away from complications during the delivery, leaving the babies orphaned and unprotected.
These fragile newborns were cold, wet, and starving — and to make matters worse, they had barely had a chance to nurse, and thus lacked the immunity-boosting colostrum that is so crucial to a lamb’s health. Without their mother to show them the way, all they had was each other — and had their guardian not discovered them in time, they might not have survived the night.
The triplets were born on a small hobby farm in central New York that was home to about 20 Katahdin sheep like them. Katahdins are a breed typically raised for meat, but the triplets’ guardian instead raised her sheep to be used in dog-herding competitions. She had no intention of sending her sheep to slaughter, but because sheep are prey animals, the experience of being herded by dogs can still be quite frightening and cause undue stress and trauma.
The lambs’ guardian quickly discovered that they required more care than she could manage. Lambs nurse frequently throughout the day, but with their mother now gone — and no one else to nurse them — the trio would have to be bottle-fed. To start, they needed six meals a day, at four-hour intervals (our lamb-feeding schedule, for example, has our caregivers up at 2:30 a.m. to ensure that the babies receive all the nutrients they need). Their guardian realized that 18 feedings a day — six meals per lamb — would be too much to manage on top of the regular duties she already performed each day, but she nonetheless wanted the best for them. After tube-feeding them colostrum (which can only be absorbed in the first 24 hours of life), she asked Farm Sanctuary if we could offer the lambs the lifelong care she knew they deserved.
The lambs were just a day old when they arrived at our New York Shelter, and it was love at first sight for all of us at the sanctuary! We immediately set to work providing the individualized care they needed. First, we gave them antibiotics to prevent complications from pneumonia; the lambs had been out in the cold for some time, and their lungs sounded abnormal upon arrival. Harley was also limping, which meant she needed to be monitored for navel ill — a condition that can result from not absorbing enough colostrum. Also part of their care regimen: Checking for heat and swelling in their joints each day, and monitoring everyone’s umbilical cords and temperatures to allow us to quickly address any changes.
Overall, however, these three are relatively healthy and in great spirits! Within a few days, their unique personalities began to shine through. Kevin was the strongest upon arrival, and is a very playful and outgoing boy. Harley is the most vocal of the three, and will baa and baa for our attention. Quinn is also very sweet, and loves cuddling with his siblings and new human friends. Recently, the trio was introduced to new pal Sophie, another recent arrival, and they bonded right away.
We’re excited to see what life has in store for this incredible trio, and so glad they’re safe for life at Farm Sanctuary!