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Joy as Archie, 14, welcomes five healthy new lambs to his flock

Archie with three of his new lambs.
Archie with three of his new lambs.

There has been fantastic news for young Perthshire farmer Archie Downie following the birth of five healthy lambs.

The animals arrived over the past few days to the delight of his family after weeks of worry over their health, prompted by two dog attacks on his flock.

The 14-year-old lost what would have been five pedigree Zwartble lambs after the trauma caused their mothers to lose them in the womb.

Now, however, there has been joy with the birth of five new lambs from the remaining three pregnant ewes.

Proving that nothing in farming is ever simple, there was more drama as one of the youngsters used its first steps to totter down a rabbit hole at the family’s smallholding near Ardler.

Its plight became clear as the family “found a hedge going baaaa” but it was soon rescued and appears not to have suffered for its adventure.

The lamb is being bottle fed by Archie as it gains strength and has been tentatively named “Thumper” in reference to its first hours.

Archie with Thumper.
Archie with Thumper.

Mum Zoey said: “We have ended up with five lambs from the remaining three ewes and they seem to be doing just fine.

“We have been so worried about what might happen and so this has given us all such a lift.

“One of the lambs is being bottle fed after it decided to spent the first four hours of its life down a rabbit hole.

“You can imagine how surprised we were when we went out to find the hedge going baaaa.”

Zoey revealed the family had also been blessed with even more generosity from members of the farming community and those who have read his story.

One lady sent Archie a cheque so that a sheep could be purchased — the only stipulation being that he names it after her brother as her gift to Archie was instead of giving her brother a birthday gift.

Neighbour John Fotheringham, meanwhile, has offered Archie the use of his own fields — which have fields on either side — in order to help keep his Zwartbles safe.

Next up, Archie will be showing his lambs at Alyth show, while he is also hoping to start a campaign to raise awareness of sheep worrying.

Archie said: “I’m fair chuffed that they are all alive after everything that has happened.

“We got four males and one female, but I can’t help but feel that five could have been seven.

“I am now going to join the Zwartble society.

“I have been contacting a lot of breeders online asking them for advice on the showing and preparation of the Zwartble breed.

“I feel more determined than ever now to try and bring home a rosette.”

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