He said: “Our property is on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, and at lambing time we check our ewes every day to see if any of them need help.
“It is a big job as we have 5000 ewes lambing and this ewe I found was obviously in trouble, with only the head showing. I pulled the lamb and found the conjoined twin.”
While it’s a remarkably rare occurrence, conjoined twins do occur among both livestock and humans.
“It’s very rare,” said Ashleigh. “I am 65 years old and have been farming for 50 years, and I have never come across it before.
“The ewe was fine but of course the lamb didn’t survive, being born dead.
“We have lots of ewes that need help and this was so unusual which is why I photographed it.”
Andrew Heinrich, another sheep farmer on Kangaroo Island, agreed it was very uncommon.
“I’ve heard of it happening, but have never experienced it myself,” he told local media.
Mr Bates disposed of the body to avoid the risk of disease.
Conjoined twins are the result of a single egg failing to fully divide into identical twins.
They can only be split after birth if they share no vital parts.
The discovery comes during peak lambing season for prime lambs on Kangaroo Island, while the height of the season for merino ewes will come in a few weeks.