Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Sunday, 13 July 2008 18:37 UK

Suburban comfort for massive ram

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Happy home for huge ram

A huge ram has made himself at home in his rescuer's house after resisting all attempts to return him to farm life.

The 22st (139kg) sheep, named Nick Boing, was rescued by David Palmer as a new-born lamb three years ago.

But despite efforts to reintroduce Nick to his natural habitat, he prefers the home comforts of a Cardiff suburb.

Even though he now has his own bungalow in the garden with carpet and windows, he still likes to watch TV in the family living room, and take car trips.

Mr Palmer, 53, said Nick had even slept in his bed when he was a lamb, but was too big for that now.

Nick was not long born when Mr Palmer discovered him bleating in the grass on a trip with his partner Caroline and 13-year-old son Nathan to Goldcliff Nature Reserve, in Newport.

"There were no other sheep about so we picked him up," he said. "I didn't know anything about sheep so I took him to the nearest farm and left my name, but nobody contacted me and he came with us.

"Caroline had a baby bottle left from when Nathan was little so we fed him some milk and within an hour he was running around."

David Palmer and his sheep Nick Boing
He's part of the family. He comes in every evening, head-butts the cushions off the settee and watches TV
David Palmer
Mr Palmer said he had tried leaving Nick with farmers on two occasions, but the animal had refused to go near other sheep and would not settle.

Nick has become a hit with the neighbours in the Rhiwbina area, and Mr Palmer said the sheep knew which gardens he was allowed into.

"He's more intelligent than your average sheep that's stuck in a field. He's in the house and in the car and meeting people over the park and around the village.

Hedges and flowers

"He's part of the family. He comes in every evening, head-butts the cushions off the settee and watches TV.

"If the biscuit barrel is out he'll butt it on the floor because he knows the lid will come off. Come 11pm he'll have a swede or an apple and then he's out for the night.

"It probably smells in here, but I'm used to it.

"He's a browser not a grazer and likes to eat hedges and flowers. If he sees a rose bush he'll eat the whole thing right down to the ground."

Mr Palmer spends five hours shearing Nick with scissors, but at least he only has to do it once a year.

"He loves being shampooed and will lie on his back with his legs in the air for me to wash him."

He said Nick also enjoyed lying in the front doorway watching the world go by and that he is the mascot for his son's rugby team.

Mr Palmer also takes him to visit local schools.

"Who would have thought it? Going up and down the street with a lamb is one thing, I didn't think I could do it with a sheep but there you are.

"He's such good company and he knows what's what, he's not stupid at all."





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