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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Camross sheep has five lambs

Gus Connick from Camross with the five lambs. Also in the photograph is Gus’s mother Margaret Connick and children Leona, aged 3, and Tommy, aged 6
Gus Connick from Camross with the five lambs. Also in the photograph is Gus’s mother Margaret Connick and children Leona, aged 3, and Tommy, aged 6

Simon Bourke

A Camross sheep has proved she's one in a million by giving birth to five healthy lambs last week. On average, Irish ewes produce 1.3 lambs per litter, but this fertile mammy bucked the trend and defied the odds by producing quintuplets on Gus Connick's farm.

'I've never seen it before and I've been farming all my life, been around sheep all my life,' said Gus. Confirming that mother and offspring were all doing well, Gus explained that, due to the unusual size of the litter, he had been forced to bring in some outside assistance to the overworked mother. 'We had to bring in another ewe to help out so there's two mothers in the pen at the moment,' he said.

Considered a freak occurrence, the odds of a ewe giving birth to five lambs are said to be a million to one with most mothers producing one to three lambs per litter. With this in mind, Gus ended up missing the birth of the final two lambs. 'I delivered the first two myself,' he said.

'She had another one by herself then and I thought that was it, I thought she was finished. I went away to do a bit of work and when I came back she was after having two more. I couldn't believe it.'

Describing her as a 'normal Charollais, a half-breed ewe', Gus only purchased the mother of the miracle litter six weeks ago when a friend of his announced he was retiring from farming. 'I ended up buying all of his flock. The mother is five years' old and apparently she's had three lambs every year since she started lambing, until this year.'

Consisting of three ewes and two rams, Gus said the female members of the litter will be added to the flock before adding, sadly, that the two males 'might not be so lucky'. And the father? 'He's just a normal Suffolk ram, but he's obviously not short of a bit,' Gus laughed.

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