Little Lambs, Big Fun: Discovering What Lambs Like to Play With

By Dairy Farming Hut


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Many people know that puppies and kittens like to play, but they are surprised to learn that lambs also play. Stock animals such as lambs, calves, and piglets are not often viewed as playful animals. So it is surprising for some that lambs like to play, and they may want to know what lambs like to play with.

Young lambs like to play with objects they can ram, such as balls. They sometimes enjoy stuffed toys that they toss in the air and retrieve. They play with other lambs by butting, running races, and chasing each other. They often play with sticks, stones, or other natural objects in fields.

Sheep are often viewed as nothing but a supply of meat, milk, and wool. Most people do not consider the social life of sheep. One of the behaviors that researchers have investigated is whether lambs play and how they play.

What Do Lambs Play With?

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Lambs begin playing a few hours after birth if they are normal and healthy. Lambs that had a difficult birth may take longer to begin playing. Researchers found that there are differences in play behavior in different sheep breeds. Some take longer after birth to start playing.

Do Lambs Play With Each Other?

The first type of play is called locomotor play, which involves running and jumping. The lambs do not play with each other or any objects during locomotor play. Instead, they test their legs and discover what they can do. It is a vital stage for the lambs' physical development as it strengthens their muscles and joints.

Locomotor play advances to races with other lambs. Usually, three or more lambs race up and down a fence line. Adult ewes may join them in these races.

Lambs also play chase with each other. They do not run as fast as when racing and adopt a moderate speed. The lambs chase each other to pass the other lamb or run level with it. Chasing can result in jumps when the lambs 'catch' each other.  

It is common to see the lambs running and cavorting in a group when they are let out of their barn or stalls in the morning. They like to run and perform acrobatic jumps while twisting their bodies. This behavior is called gamboling.

Female lambs stick predominantly to locomotor play, but males engage in a different play. A few days after birth, young ram lambs can be seen butting or trying to mount each other. If there are no other male lambs, the single male lamb will butt and mount the female lambs.   

Some females may also show playful mounting, but it occurs less frequently than males. Generally, researchers found that males have more socially interactive play than female lambs. 

Lambs may play with each other by pushing against another lamb's shoulder. The aim is to move the other lamb.

Lambs like playing by jumping onto their recumbent mothers, large rocks, or tree stumps. This is sometimes referred to as playing king of the castle.

Do Lambs Play With Objects?

Lambs often play with objects in the first few weeks of life. They pick up things in their mouths. They like to shake objects, chew them or drop and pick them up repeatedly.

Lambs have been observed throwing objects around and retrieving them to throw them again.

In a natural environment, the lambs play with sticks, stones, rope, a fence, or any other object that interests them. Lambs quite frequently charge and butt bushes and long clumps of grass.

Do Lambs Like To Play With Toys?

Lambs are curious about new objects in their environment and will investigate toys left in their enclosures or fields. Many animal rescue shelters provide toys for lambs in their care.

People that own pet lambs may also choose to provide toys for them.

It is essential to supply lambs with toys if they live in an unnatural environment, as they need stimulation to enhance their quality of life.

Do Lambs Like To Play With Balls?

Balls are a good toy to choose for lambs. Balls roll easily, which lambs enjoy as it provides a direct consequence or reward for their action. In addition, the easy movement of balls means that lambs do not hurt themselves if they butt them.

It isn't easy to find balls made exclusively for sheep. Fortunately, many horse balls and some goat balls will be suitable for sheep.

Balls with handles like the Jolly Pets Vanilla Horse Ball 10" are ideal for lambs that like to pick up the ball and toss it around. The soft rubber handle does not damage the lamb's mouth but is robust enough to withstand some rough play.

Jolly Pets Vanilla Horse Ball, 10", Orange
  • Designed with your safety and your pets safety in mind
  • Safe material for your pet
  • Made in the USA with quality materials

The Horseman's Pride 14” Jolly Tug Horse Toy is another ball that may be suitable for lambs. It is covered with a durable nylon material and has two fabric handles on each side.

Horsemen's Pride 14" Jolly Tug Horse Toy, Blue (JT14 B),All Breed Sizes
  • Highly durable Horse toy is made with a 14” Jolly Ball inside of a tough, machine washable Cordura Nylon cover
  • Jolly Tug Horse Toy has 2 handles allowing multiple horses to play together, you can play tug with your horse, or simply providing easier access for your horse to play independently
  • The durable Cordura Nylon material, along with rope inside the handles makes this product stand up to the toughest of horses
  • The large size and bright color makes it easier for horse and owner to spot in the field
  • The Jolly Tug is sure provide hours of fun and exercise for your horse, helping to reduce boredom

The handles have rope inside to withstand rough play. This toy can be hung up by one of the handles, and the lamb can butt the hanging ball. The cover can easily be removed and washed in a washing machine.

Balls can also be used to provide lambs with hay or treats. An example is the BeSimple Feeding Toy For Horses, Goats, and Sheep.

Besimple 2 Pack Horse Treat Ball Hay Feeder Toy, Goat Feeder Ball Hanging Feeding Toy for Horse Goat Sheep Relieve Stress(Red)
  • Horse Stable Hanging Toy: Designed to be hung in the stable away from wall, the feeding toy will swing as your horse eats hay or nudges the ball, keep your horse or pony entertained for hours in the paddock or the stable!
  • Less Stressful & More Fun: This horse swing feeder ball allows to keep your horse entertained and make more fun in the paddock or the stable. Great tool for horse on stall rest.
  • Keep Exercise: This feeder ball toy for provide a unique way to keep your horses or goats exercise when they are all penned up all day and encourage natural foraging behaviors. Your horses and goats will get hours of fun headbutting the ball.
  • FEEDER BALL: The horse feeder ball toy is allows to headbutting the ball and designed to keep your horse or pony entertained for hours in the paddock or the stable!
  • NOTE: Measures 5.5 inch in diameter. Please check the size before you buy it. This horse feeder ball is just a toy, the main purpose is to keep horse or goat busy and relieve stress, do not use it as a feeder.

This ball has cut-out hexagons and a hollow interior. The ball can be stuffed with hay or treats for the lamb to pull out and eat. The ball is hung from a rafter or suitable tree. The manufacturers stress that the ball is a toy and not recommended for routine feeding.

Pleuro Balls are available in bright colors. They are anti-burst balls that are large enough for a lamb to butt and push around a field.

Horse Ball Training Toy, Large Ball Horse Toys,Anti-Burst Horse Exercise Ball Toy with Inflator Pump for Horse Lamb Goat Enterainment Toy Ball (17", Pink)
  • SAFETY EXPLOSION-PROOF DESIGN-Made from thick and burst-proof material.Explosion-proof rubber compound design can withstand high pressure.In case the ball is pierced by a sharp object, the horse toy ball will not burst suddenly, it will only let the ball slowly deflate.
  • EXERCISE WITH FUN-This horse ball toy is an inflatable ball specially made for horse, which can be used for training or entertainment. Very suitable for pastures or fields. In addition, it can also be used as a toy game ball for donkeys, goat, calves, etc.
  • IMPROVE HORSE CONFIDENCE-Help your horse build curiosity, courage, and confidence.Provide the necessary exercise to help with and play to their playful side.The ball is soft , the horse's body is very comfortable when pressed against it, it can also push the ball with its feet, head and body.
  • STRONG AND STURDY-The exercise ball has a non-slip surface,The external texture of the training ball makes it easy to grasp. This ball is bright blue, high visibility. It is engineered for superior durability and safety.
  • WHAT WILL YOU GET?-Inflate the ball to approximately 80% during use so that the ball is more flexible and safer. Package includes 1 ball, 1 inflation manual foot pump,1 inflation hose, 2 ball plug, 1ball plug remover.

Do Lambs Play With Stuffed Toys?

Farmers and shepherds sometimes use plush stuffed toys for orphaned or sick lambs. The toy is rubbed over other sheep and lambs to give it a flock smell. The scent comforts the orphaned or sick lamb, and they become very attached to their toy.

It is common for the lamb to begin playing with this stuffed toy and carrying it around. The Multipet Plush Dog Toy is an ideal toy for a lamb. It has a squeaker which may also intrigue and stimulate the lamb.

Multipet Plush Dog Toy, Lambchop, 10" Regular, White, Large
  • Shari Lewis' classic and beloved lamb is adored by dogs
  • Extra soft plush exterior is great for cuddling
  • Includes squeaker for playtime fun
  • 10" regular size dog toy
  • Pet should be supervised while playing


Understanding what lambs like to play with can help ensure that these young animals receive the appropriate stimulation and enrichment they need to thrive. By providing lambs with toys and activities that encourage exploration and play, we can help them develop important skills and improve their overall health and well-being.

Whether it's a ball, a stick, or simply another lamb to frolic with, the right playtime activities can make all the difference for these lovable and playful animals.

So, the next time you encounter a lamb, consider giving them a chance to play and explore, and you might just be amazed at the joy and energy they bring to your life.

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