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High five: Farmer's shock as sheep gives birth to quintuplet of lambs

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All white now: Sarah Holland and her father Declan with the quintuplet lambs (four ewes and one ram) born on the family farm in Blarney, Co Cork. Photo: Darragh MacSweeney

All white now: Sarah Holland and her father Declan with the quintuplet lambs (four ewes and one ram) born on the family farm in Blarney, Co Cork. Photo: Darragh MacSweeney

Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

All white now: Sarah Holland and her father Declan with the quintuplet lambs (four ewes and one ram) born on the family farm in Blarney, Co Cork. Photo: Darragh MacSweeney

A farming family was celebrating as three sister ewes delivered 11 lambs - one of which gave birth to quintuplets.

Declan Holland, who farms outside Blarney in Co Cork, said they were "absolutely delighted" with the new arrivals.

The quintuplet lambs - four females and a male - were the undoubted stars of the show. But two of that ewe's sisters also delivered triplets.

Neighbours, family and friends flocked to the Hollands' Blarney farm to view the quintuplets.

"It started around 7pm and they were finished - three sheep and 11 lambs - by 10am on Sunday.

"All done and all safe, thank God," Mr Holland told VirginMedia News.

"There were cups of tea all round to celebrate and everyone was over the moon. There were people calling to have a look at them.

"We are ecstatic to be honest - it has been years of careful breeding and hoping for the best."

Chloe Holland said they had expected a busy lambing season, but hadn't anticipated quintuplets.

"We hadn't expected everything to go so well.

"We had done a scan so we knew there were a good few lambs coming but we hadn't expected them all to be born naturally and without a problem."

The family now plan to retain the four females for breeding within their Blarney flock: "The ram lamb we might sell on when he is old enough."

Meanwhile, Donegal farmer Tommy Meehan is thinking of doing the Lotto after one of his cows gave birth to triplets.

The odds are 150,000/1 but having three calves of the same sex is put at a staggering 400,000/1.

That's exactly what one of his Holstein Fresian cows did last weekend at his farm at Dromore, Ballindrait in Lifford.

Mr Meehan, whose family has a herd of more than 330 milking cows, got the surprise of his life when he went to check on the cow on Saturday morning.

He said: "I have a camera system installed and I knew the cow was due to give birth. I didn't realise it was more than one though.

"I checked on the camera in the middle of the night and I saw it was two, and I was delighted. When I went down to check the next morning I was so shocked to see there were three calves.

"They were all healthy and moving around and I was just so delighted. It's a great start to the new year."

He added: "It's rare to have triplets and even more rare to have triplet heifers."

Mr Meehan said it was the first time in his or his father's generation there had been triplets on their farm. "They say luck comes in threes so I might just pop down and do the Lotto," he laughed.

Irish Independent