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Sunday 21 January 2018

Ewe are one in a million after birth of five lambs

Farmer Brendan Griffin and his son Jason with the sheep and her five newborn lambs. Andrew Downes
Farmer Brendan Griffin and his son Jason with the sheep and her five newborn lambs. Andrew Downes

Brian McDonald

A west of Ireland farmer is busy counting sheep after one of his ewes gave birth to five lambs.

At first count, Brendan Griffin thought that an impressive litter of four had been delivered – until he spotted another leg sticking out.

Against all odds, it was a fifth lamb – an event regarded as happening only about one in a million times.

"I never saw five – I'd heard of it, but nobody around here ever saw it before", said the Co Galway farmer.

Brendan, who farms cattle and sheep at Masonbrook, outside Loughrea town in east Galway, said the multiple birth caused great excitement on the family farm.

Ewes usually give birth to between one and three lambs at a time. Four are a rarity but five almost never happens.

The expectant mother was taken into the lambing shed by Brendan as her time came near and the entire operation went smoothly.

"She stood for four and I was busy with them. But whatever way I looked at her I found an extra leg and the fifth came. I never knew of it happening," said Brendan.

The happy event took place last weekend and his wife Carmel has been helping to look after the new arrivals.

"All are doing fine, and the mother is great too," he said.

He now plans to hold on to the two ewe lambs, while the ram lambs are destined for sale and will ultimately grace a dinner table.

The ewe is now four years old and at peak fertility. To date the proud mother has produced 10 lambs in three lambing seasons.

"She is almost managing to feed the five all by herself, but we are helping her," he said.

And what about names for the five? A no-nonsense Mr Griffin said: "Ah come on – we're farmers."

Irish Independent

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