ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) – When Mickey the lamb was born at Serenity Acres Farm in Angola, he couldn’t walk or stand to nurse from his mother.
The owners of the farm brought him into their home, fed him his mother’s milk from a bottle, and put custom orthotics on his legs.
“We kept lifting him up and trying to stand him up,” said Melissa Beaudoin of Serenity Acres. “We put splints on his legs- it didn’t correct them, but it did help him walk.”
When the splints didn’t straighten Mickey’s legs, they took them off to allow him to get stronger the way he is.
“He gets around really well,” Melissa’s son, Zachary Beaudoin, said.
Mickey got his name from the first diaper they put on him for the house- which was printed with Mickey Mouse’s likeness.
He’s getting along well with the family’s dogs- especially for naps.
“The younger dogs play with him, they like to lick his ears, they lay together,” Melissa said. “The older dogs don’t want much to do with him, but they don’t bother him.”
“The cats don’t know what to think of him since when he runs, he’s loud because of his hooves,” Melissa laughed.
The Beaudoins aren’t sure what’s wrong with Mickey’s legs.
“It could be spider syndrome, but we’re not totally sure,” Zachary said.
Spider lamb syndrome is a recessive disorder that affects the growth of bone and cartilage in sheep.
Right now, Mickey can get around by himself, but he might need some more help as he gets bigger and heavier.
“We talked as a family- if we can’t support him as he gets bigger, we’ll try to find a sanctuary that can get him a wheelchair,” Zachary said. “He could get up to 200 or 300 lbs., and the bowing of his legs could make it very painful.”
The Beaudoins are working to get Mickey more comfortable with the barn. They’ve started bringing him out to spend time with the other sheep and bringing barn food into the house.
“He’s scared of the other sheep, so we’re bringing him for a little while each day while we’re out there,” Melissa said.
Serenity Acres Farm is a small family farm. They sell eggs and lambs.
“My mom grew up in a suburb, my dad grew up on a farm, so halfway through my life, we decided that we would move to a farm,” Zachary said. “My grandmother did dog rescue, so that culture kind of pours over- we’ve rescued horses, a donkey.”
When COVID-19 struck and they had more time at home, they adopted 20 sheep. They now have 27 lambs on top of that- including Mickey.
All of their cats and dogs are also rescues, Zachary added.
“Mickey is just kind of our latest animal we’re rescuing and keeping alive,” he said.
While animal rescue is rewarding, it’s also hard work.
“I think that when you get animals, there’s a lot of work that goes into them- he looks very cute, but behind the scenes, my mom is changing his diaper,” Zachary said. “So if you’re going to rescue an animal, make sure that your their forever home, or that you put in the work to save them.”
You can keep up with Mickey and Serenity Acres through the farm’s Instagram account.
Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.