Experts baffled why there's so many cows with no calves in Ireland
The bachelor farmer and unmarried aunt are well known to all of us - but have you ever encountered the spinster cow?
Well, according to figures that have just come to light, there are plenty of elderly bovine maidens in the country - up to 25,000 of them in fact.
An analysis of the national herd carried out as part of the ongoing BVD eradication programme highlighted the anomaly - a virtual army of females aged four years or over who have never had a calf.
Although the numbers equate to just 1pc of the national cow herd, the total figure has taken people by surprise.
"It's hard to fathom why there are so many. It just doesn't make sense," one industry source said.
"Maybe they're pets that farmers never got in-calf," he suggested.
"It's possible they're just barren females that farmers hold on to to keep stock bulls quiet when they're off duty," another maintained.