IT is very rare that a sheep ends up with just three legs. And it is even more rare that the same sheep ends up giving birth to healthy twin lambs.

But seven-year-old ewe Cardi from Farm Animal & Bird Sanctuary Trust in Tardebigge has defied all the odds and not only coped brilliantly when she had her front leg removed but went on to give birth to two bouncing lambs.

She had been rescued by the Tardebigge sanctuary seven years ago and spent every day jumping over fences from one paddock to another, earning the Cardi “because she was a woolly jumper” .

But six weeks ago, she misjudged a fence, shattering her leg, and it was touch and go as to whether she could survive.

Vet Alistair Field from Clent Hills Equine Unit said: "There were only two options - to amputate her leg or have her put down.

"The option to amputate had its high risk as sheep do not tolerate anaesthetics well. If the operation took place it would have to be done very quickly with the minimum of sedation.”

Co-founder of the sanctuary Maureen Lawless said: "Another problem was that Cardi was in lamb. Anaesthetics could cause an abortion or kill the unborn lambs.

"We had to give her the chance but we were on tenterhooks waiting to hear if she would survive.

"Thankfully just two hours later the good news came that the operation had been successful and 10 minutes after she came round she was walking around on three legs.

"Cardi mastered losing a leg and and continued to live a virtually normal life. The worry now was had the unborn lambs have been affected by the anaesthetic and would she be able to cope with lambs feeding from her."

To everyone 's amazement she not only produced two strapping lambs but also had no problem feeding them.

And the woolly little arrivals have been aptly named Arran and Jersey.

Thanks to Clent Hills vets many injured or sick rescued animals lives have been saved and they have gone on to live a happy life at the sanctuary.

The sanctuary always welcomes donations or offers of help from people so it can continue to offer many animals a permanent home.

For more details, call 01527 870613.