There must be something in the water in Kiltullagh, as quad lambs were born a few minutes down the road from the triplet calves birth we reported on this week, which you can read here.
“We are only two miles away from Cooney’s Farm,” PJ informed Kevin of ThatsFarming.
The birth of the quadruplets last week, was somewhat of a 1 in 400 chance surprise for small-time sheep farmer, PJ Mitchell. The ewe, when scanned, was thought to be having couples, though she had a lot more in store for the Mitchells.
The ewe in question is of the Lleyn breed, of which he has about 10 ewes. These are a small-type breed originating from Wales and help make up his 55-60 strong flock. As mentioned above, the farmer was only expecting couples, as this is what the scan had shown up, though as we know, scans are not always 100% accurate!
“They were born Wednesday last week. They arrived as soon as the snow came, I had the sheep in a sheep tunnel…I went out at about half three Wednesday night and she was dropped with two lambs,” PJ explained.
“I put her out of the tunnel and into a pen on her own and went home. We came the next morning, myself and the two kids (Sarah and Dara) to go feeding. Sarah came out to me and said ‘that ewe is going to have another lamb’, to which I replied ‘she couldn’t be’, as she had only dropped during the night,”, PJ added.
One more lamb joined the two born the night before and if that were not enough, another made its way out soon after.
“Sure enough I went in and there was his head sticking out. I pulled him out and put him beside the other two lambs she had already had and he was up in seconds, mad for sucking,” said PJ.
PJ then told his daughter Sarah to keep an eye on the lambs and ewe as he went off on his way again, not expecting any further lambs, before being called back into action by his daughter Sarah.
“She came out and said ‘she is having another one’. I thought ‘she couldn’t be’, but sure enough there was another one. I pulled him out anyway and again he was straight up sucking,” he said.
The lambs were then given beastings in the bottle, before two of them were fostered by two other ewes, one each.
“The following day I had two singles, just after lambing and I fostered over two of them (the lambs). They (the lambs) are all good and healthy.”, he continued.
The four lambs, two rams and two ewes, will be kept on the farm until this coming August, while the ewe will be cherished by PJ for years to come, with the hopes she can replicate this year’s success. This surprise birth, a one in 400 chance, is the first experienced by the Mitchell household since they began sheep farming back in 2009.
“It is a novelty really, that will probably never happen again…If they were all like that I would be delighted” PJ joked.
“If I could pick up more of the Lleyn again I would as they are a great ewe”, PJ concluded.
Although quads seem to be a lot more common as of late, it was still a nice surprise for the Mitchells to receive during Storm Emma. With triplet calves only born down the road in the same week, somebody needs to seriously inspect what they are adding to the water in Kiltullagh.