A kind-hearted boy has stepped in to rear a family of lambs in his back garden.
Joseph Howard, nine, has been looking after eight lambs at his Oswaldtwistle home after they were born at his grandfather’s farm earlier this spring.
Granddad Robert, 66, normally looks after lambs but suffered a stroke in December 2010 leaving him unable to tend to them.
So Joseph, who lives in Rowan Avenue with his parents Edward and Deborah and four siblings, decided to lend a helping hand.
Mum Deborah, 43, said: "Joseph has always helped his dad and granddad at the family farm.
"Since the lambs were motherless they needed to be bottle fed three times a day and Joseph has spent all of his school holidays taking care of them."
Each of the lambs has been named by Joseph. They are called Ollie, Tommie, Ronnie, Reggie, Mindie, Mollie, Mandie and Charlie.
Deborah said: "He insisted they all be named with an ‘ie’ at the end.
"I am not sure why but that’s what we have done."
The youngster, who attends St Mary’s RC Primary School in Oswaldtwistle, created a sleeping area for the lambs inside a garden shed.
Joseph wakes up early and feeds the lambs every morning. They are left to wander the garden when the family is at home. He also feeds the animals in the afternoon and evening before shutting them up in the shed.
Now that he is back at school, his mum Deborah will complete the afternoon feedings but Joseph will continue to get up early for morning feedings.
Deborah said: "It is a big job but he does it without complaining. None of my other children are as interested in the farm animals as Joseph is.
"A few of the neighbouring children have helped bottle feed them."
The lambs will live at the farm once they are fully grown.