Sheep rejected by mum now thinks she’s a dog

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Bella the sheep was abandoned by her mother so the farmer’s wife decided to hand-rear her alongside seven dogs and a cat.

Now the two-year-old Texel X Lleyn prefers biscuits to grass, goes on family dog walks and even runs away from other sheep.

Owner Gilly Chippendale says they have an incredible bond and she likes relaxing with them in their beautiful, fortified manor house in Cumbria.

Gilly, who has two children and two grandchildren, added: ‘We have over a thousand breeding sheep on the farm and there are always lambs who get rejected and often ewes who lose their own lamb, so the orphans get mothered onto them which they sometimes reject.

Bella and the dogs hang out together outside (Picture: Gilly Chippendale/Caters News)

‘This is what happened to Bella, several times.

‘I then brought Bella up to the stables to live with my ponies. This is how she began coming for walks with the dogs and following me around the farm.

‘She loves running behind the quad bike with the dogs.’

Bella in the kitchen (Picture: Gilly Chippendale/Caters News

Her life away from the fields meant she didn’t pick up on some of the things most sheep do as she didn’t have a flock to learn from.

Instead, she copied the dogs and other pets.

Gilly, who breeds Fell ponies and competes in carriage driving competitions, said: ‘Bella certainly doesn’t believe she’s a sheep.

‘She will often be camped on my doorstep waiting for someone to let her in.

Gilly, Bella and the dogs having a picnic(Picture: Gilly Chippendale/Caters News)

‘She’s allowed in the hallways, kitchen, boot room and the living room.

‘She’s never recognised herself as a sheep, she’s inquisitive but frightened of other sheep.’

The only interaction she gets with other sheep is when they go out for walks but she shows little interest.

Bella poses for a pic with some of Gilly’s dogs and horses (Picture: Gilly Chippendale/Caters News)

Gilly added: ‘It’s very funny to see her walk past other sheep on our walks acting very aloof. She even runs away from sheep if they follow her.

‘I did once try to shut her in a field with other sheep but it had a footpath through it so she accosted all the walkers and ramblers, so they had to let her through the gate and then she’d come back up to the house.

‘She does sometimes follow the walkers; some think it’s funny and some are actually frightened of her.

‘It took Bella until fairly recently to actually graze grass. It’s another of those things which didn’t come naturally to her.

‘She would only ever eat the grass on my lawn, and she’ll do almost anything for a hob nob biscuit or a bourbon cream.’

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