Lambs Go Blind after Grímsvötn Ash Fall Skip to content

Lambs Go Blind after Grímsvötn Ash Fall

By Iceland Review

Eighteen lambs were orphaned at Kálfafell I, just east of Kirkjubaejarklaustur, and have to be bottle fed after they either lost or were separated from their mothers in the ash fall from the Grímsvötn eruption. Many of them have also gone blind and require extensive care.


The ash fall in Kirkjubaejarklaustur at the height of the eruption. Photo by Monique Starr. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

The farmers at Kálfafell I, Hafdís Huld Björgvinsdóttir and Stefán Björnsson, have to feed each of the orphaned lambs warm milk four to five times a day. “It is hard to know how they will fare,” Björgvinsdóttir told Veterinarians believe they might regain their sight.

Björgvinsdóttir expects that the orphaned lambs, known as heimalningar in Icelandic, will have to be bottle-fed until mid-June. To cope with demand, they have been given milk from neighboring farms but also use milk powder.

“It is a little difficult to feed all of them but we are going to order a bottle with teats on it, then you just pour the milk into it and teach them to drink that way,” Björgvinsdóttir explained.

Although the odds are against the orphaned lambs, two of them actually found their mothers while the journalists were visiting Kálfafell I.

Click here to read more about the volcanic eruption in Grímsvötn.

Please note: The next issue of the print edition of Iceland Review will include extensive coverage of the eruption. If you subscribe now, you will receive a photo book by IR editor/photographer Páll Stefánsson of the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull as a gift.

Click here to subscribe.

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