Gallery: Wonder cow delivers miracle triplets
Waterford farmer Shane Fitzgerald had an amazing start to the calving season when one of his cows gave birth to hale and hearty triplets.
And what is even more amazing, is that the wonder dam calved the triplets herself.
Shane, who farms at Portlaw with his father John, had housed the cow in a straw-bedded shed because she was lame. However, he switched her to a nearby slatted house because he was doing maintenance work in the bedded unit.
"I was only at the other side of a wall from her but I never knew she was calving until I heard one of the calves," he explained.
He couldn't believe his eyes when he reached the slatted shed to find three healthy Holstein-Friesian calves - two bulls and a heifer. "It's amazing they all survived, and that they're all healthy," Shane commented.
The calves were 10 days premature and only as big as "medium-sized dogs" but Shane got three litres of colostrum into them shortly after being born and they have thrived since.
And how about the dam? "She's thin enough. It took a lot out of her," he said.
The Holstein-Friesian cow, which Shane described as "real quiet", is in her fourth lactation. The calves are by the popular sire Maestro.