A two-year-old boy is enjoying a walk with his new lockdown playmate - a five-week-old lamb rejected by its own mother at birth writes Sarah Lumley.

The lamb, which has been named Peter Pan, is being hand-reared by the Holmes family.

Its mother refused to care for him and treated him "horribly" after he was born.

Henry Holmes, two, has become firm friends with the family's new 'pet' - with the two happily playing together every day.

He even takes Peter Pan for walks on a lead in the fields behind their home.

Henry's mum Kristen Holmes, 38, who also has four-year-old son Dexter, said: "The kids love it, they think it's great.

"I think the lamb thinks my youngest son is another lamb - he loves to headbutt him, and Henry loves it, he stands there just laughing away.

"Peter has become a bit of a celebrity around here, we often take him for walks on a lead around the houses and people will double-take, thinking he's a dog.

"Some of our neighbours who know we have a lamb will come and stand at our back gate and make 'baa'-ing noises, and Peter will talk back to them," Kristen laughed.

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Hairdresser Kristen lives in Sherborne, Dorset, with husband Robin, 49, and their two sons Dexter and Henry.

And the family have a smallholding in nearby Leigh, where they keep sheep, peacocks, guinea fowl, two llamas, and an alpaca.

Kristen said: "We have about 12 sheep up there, and during lambing season this year we got about 15 lambs.

"The sheep that had Peter also had one other lamb - but when they were born, she took to the other one immediately but not to Peter.

"She was really nasty to him, throwing him around the enclosure and headbutting him. It was horrible to watch.

"We didn't think he was going to make it, because his breathing was being affected.

"We put him in a separate part of the pen and gave it 48 hours, to see if she would bond with him, but she just didn't want him.

"Eventually we had to take him home ourselves, and try to bottle feed him."

Kristen said that at first, Peter would not take to a bottle - but now, he is bottle-fed every day, and wanders freely in and out of the house.

She said: "He loves being petted. If I'm out wandering around the garden, he'll literally be chasing round after me.

"He slept in the house at first, but he's growing quite quickly, so now he sleeps out in the garden.

"But he will stand outside and 'baa' at us for attention. All my friends are so envious, as they haven't been able to come over and see him."

Kristen says they are planning to take Peter Pan back up to live in the fields in the next two or three weeks - but added that the family go up there almost every day to check on the animals.

She said: "I think Henry will be really sad when he has to go - he calls the lamb 'my baby'.

"But we'll definitely be keeping him for breeding. He's so friendly now, and he'll stay friendly."