Welcome to the home of Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats and
Mill Branch Farm !
We are a small farm located in southern Maryland about one hour south of Annapolis and one hour east of Washington, D.C.
We make Good Shepherd Lamb Coats.
I am a retired shepherd with a passion for mentoring new shepherds.
We and our dog live in an old farm house and assorted cats live in a restored tobacco barn.
We enjoy an agricultural lifestyle amid ever-encroaching suburbia.
Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats keep animals warm! If you’ve ever seen a dog shivering or lost a lamb to the cold you know how important it is to keep animals warm. What could be more natural than wool for warmth?
Good Shepherd Lamb coats were designed by a shepherd for shepherds and adapted for dogs after many requests. Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats are natural wool coats specially designed to help maintain the core body temperature of newborn, sick or frail lambs, kids and crias and to keep cold doggies warm.
They have been sized for lambs and are especially useful for keeping lambs warm and cozy in cold weather. Premature, sick or frail lambs or those suffering from injury will appreciate the warmth and softness provided by natural wool Good Shepherd Lamb Coats. Wool stretches and conforms to the body and never chafes or binds.
Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats are extremely durable and easily cleaned. They can be used year after year for lambing and they can be washed and dried in the home laundry. Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog coats are reusable and help protect the planet.
Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats are made of upcycled wool blankets from American woolen mills, that have been washed and preshrunk. The coats are hand cut and sewn by local workers in their homes.
The coat covers the back and shoulders of the lamb/dog from the base of the neck to the base of the tail---leaving the head and tail area unimpeded—which is important to ensure maternal bonding in newborn lambs. The coat has a unique chest piece that insulates the chest of the lamb or dog from the dampness and cold of the ground. The coat is secured with a fabric belt that goes around the lamb or dog just behind the front legs. It is fastened with an adjustable acetyl nylon buckle. The coat leaves the front shoulders unencumbered and the lamb or dog can move about naturally.
The patterns were developed by taking actual measurements of dozens of newborn lambs, kids and are sized to fit lambs and kids of different weights.
Good Shepherd Lamb coats are invaluable at lambing time in cold climates. They are warm, soft and comfortable for the lamb(s), do not restrict movement and are fluid resistant. The chest piece covers the lamb’s chest and insulates it from the damp and coldness of the ground and prevents chilling of the lamb.
Good Shepherd Lamb coats do not interfere with maternal bonding. In fact Good Shepherd Lamb coats can encourage bonding. If a ewe is trying to reject one of her lambs, take the coat off of the ‘favored’ lamb, turn it inside out and put it on the lamb trying to be rejected. The ewe will think that both lambs are now her favorite.
If you’ve every lost a lamb to the cold, you know how important it is to keep newborn lambs warm. What could be natural than wool for warmth? Newborn lambs, when born in a cold environment, can loose body heat (become hypothermic) fail to rise to find the teat, and perish---all in a few hours if left unattended. There are multiple reasons why hypothermia occurs; sometimes the lamb has had a long and difficult delivery with some transient brain injury, sometime, usually in multiple births or with inexperienced maiden ewes, the mother may fail to dry off the lamb before the next lamb comes, and sometimes the lamb is very small and unable to maintain body heat on its own. Nature provides newborn lambs with “brown fat” designed to provide body heat and energy in the first several hours of life. Once this period is over, the lamb is subject to various external conditions (weather, temperature, wind) and several newborn situations that may prevent it from feeding (late milk letdown in the ewe, inadequate milk, inability to stand, inability to compete with larger, stronger siblings, etc., that can result in hypothermia.
Good Shepherd Lamb Coats are designed to be used in a sheltered environment to enhance survival of hypothermic lambs. *NOTE: They are not intended for use on lambs on the open range.
Good Shepherd Lamb Coats do not take the place of an attentive ewe and a knowledgeable Shepherd---but they sure help!
Good Shepherd Lamb Coats are currently available in four sizes: Extra-Small, Small, Medium and Large. Lamb Coats are available in solid colors with contrasting trim.
Please call, write or email us for current colors on hand.
SIZE LAMB WEIGHT PRICE
EXTRA-SMALL (3 to 5 pounds) $20.00
SMALL (6 to 10 pounds) $22.00
MEDIUM (11 to 15 pounds) $22.00
LARGE (16 to 22 pounds) $25.00
We charge no handling fee for packaging. We ship priority mail or first class depending on the customer’s desires.
Please contact us with your zip code and we will let you know the exact amount of shipping for the number of items you desire.
Maryland Residents, please add 6% Maryland Sales Tax.
We ship to Canada at the small parcel rate.
Contact us for payment arrangements!
Good Shepherd Lamb & Dog Coats are made of 100% wool fabric recycled from vintage blankets that have been washed and preshrunk (felted). The wool fabrics vary in thickness, nap, color, weave, texture, design and pattern. Each blanket is unique in that it is no longer being produced in the exact color or pattern. Please contact us for availability of current colors and designs.
Wool is the natural choice for warmth. Wool fibers form air pockets between the fibers that insulate and maintain body heat. Wool fibers are naturally water resistant. Wool can absorb about 30% of its own weight in moisture. What this means is that moisture is wicked away from the body keeping the skin dry.
BINDING and THREAD
The coat binding is made of a colorfast polyester cotton fabric and is double sewn (both on the inside and the outside) to form the trim of the lamb or dog coat. The thread is double core (cotton covered polyester) for strength and elasticity and in a size suitable for sports equipment (and athletic lambs and dogs! The binding and thread are made in American mills.
The buckles are made of Delrin, an acetyl plastic. These are the same type of buckles used in outdoor backpacking and sports equipment. Delrin does not absorb moisture like nylon buckles and superior UV resistance. Delrin buckles can withstand temperature fluctuations expected throughout the United States ---from the low two digits to the low three digits. It does not become brittle in cold temperatures and retains its strength at higher temperatures. The buckles have a direct pull rating of 50 lbs. These features make it suitable for animal use in an outdoor or barn environment.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT WOOL?
There are several features that make Wool unique. Our ancestors knew about them, too as wool was being used for clothing as early as the Stone Age!
~Wool is warm
~Wool is water resistant
~Wool is moisture wicking
~Wool is resilient and elastic
~Wool is dirt-resistant
Wool is a wonderful insulator. Cloth woven from wool is naturally insulating and contains up to 80% air. The crimp of the wool produces insulating air spaces which retain body heat. The air forms an insulating layer along the skin and prevents heat from escaping. These warm air pockets next to the skin are kept dry while the hollow wool fibers absorb moisture vapors and the hard outer surface moves liquid moisture away from the body.
Wool fibers are naturally water resistant---a fact well known by mountain climbers and sailors. The first rain coat (before the invention of rubber and plastic) was made of wool. Wool can absorb up to a third of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp. Each wool fiber has a hard water repellent outer layer made up of scales that overlap each other like shingles on a roof. This hard outer layer surrounds each hollow fiber. The fiber’s core absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture vapor without becoming damp or clammy while the hard outer layer protects from liquids.
Wool is moisture wicking. Garments made from wool are not only warm, but also wick moisture away from the skin and allow water vapor to pass through the wool fiber—without losing their thermal properties. The ability to wick moisture helps heat ventilation during physical activity and keeps the skin dry.
The wool fiber is resilient and elastic. Each wool fiber can be bent 30,000 times without breakage or damage. Wool stretches and molds to the body of the lamb or dog. When it is washed and dried, it returns to its normal shape. It does not bind movement and flexes and stretches with the animal’s movement. This feature makes it perfect for the active animal.
Wool is also dirt resistant. The crimp and the scales of the wool fiber prevent dirt from penetrating the surface of the wool fiber and its natural static resistance helps to resist dust and lint from the air
All of these features, plus that fact that it is a natural, reusable fabric, makes wool the perfect choice for warming active lambs and dogs.
Why don’t you use Velcro (hook and loop) fasteners on your coats?
We have tried velcro fasteners on our coats and they were not successful over time. Animals shed hair. The outdoor environment has grass, leaves and seeds. The barn environment has hay seeds and flakes, grain chaff, sawdust, wood chips, cob webs, animal hair---all of which become embedded in the hook part of the fastener preventing it from securely holding the belt around the lamb or dog. Even when the fastener is closed before washing, the fibers and debris in the washing machine bind to the hook part of the closure and diminish its function. Its ability to securely hold the belt around the coat decreases with every washing. Over time, the velcro fastener becomes filled with debris and hardly stays closed at all. All of us have had the experience of having a sports glove or purse latch with a velcro fastener---and over time it no longer latches securely. Unless one is willing to clean out the hook closure with a brush on a regular basis, the velcro fasteners are not suitable for heavy duty use by active hairy animals in an outdoor or barn environment or in a garment that is made to be washed many, many times.
"I received my coat yesterday and we both LOVE it! It fits perfectly.
- Jennifer, Owner of Zelda
"Thank you so so, so much for making me the beautiful coat and just in time for the freezing weather. As you can see it fits me perfectly. I Love it."
- Jaeri, Owner of Dicca
"We have had snow and ice and the weather has been awful but the coats came and they are the nicest lamb coats ever! Thanks so much !"