Nine-calf Friesian merits place in the record books
A four-year old Co Limerick Friesian cow deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records after she gave birth to nine calves in two calvings.
This is the view of leading breeding management consultant, Dr Dan Ryan, who describes as "extraordinary" the reproductive performance of the cow from the herd of Ger Kirby, Ballyneety, Co Limerick.
While getting your dairy cow to produce a calf as early as possible each spring is now the goal for efficient dairy systems, the Kirby cow is in a completely different league.
Not content to deliver a single calf, this particular dam has produced quadruplets and quintuplets in the last three years, with eight of the nine calves surviving.
On both occasions the cow went in calf naturally to an Angus bull and was not on any fertility treatment.
And just to please the old romantics in the farming business, this year's offering -- which included three bulls and a heifer -- made their arrival on the morning of February 14, St Valentine's Day.
"One of the calves even had a loveheart on his forehead," explains eight-year-old Ronan Kirby, Ger's son.
Ger knew there was something amiss when the cow began to lose condition during the last weeks of pregnancy and he was forced to put her on extra meals.