Сб. Мар 2nd, 2024

Beef cattle farmers David and Julie Ingram were astonished when their purebred Hereford cow gave birth to quadruplets in May. This remarkable occurrence followed the cow’s previous delivery of twins the year before. The Ingrams, accustomed to multiple births, had experienced 12 sets of twins in 2018 and eight sets in the current year.

Anticipating twins, the couple was taken aback to discover not two but four calves. Two heifers and two bull calves were born prematurely, prompting concern for their well-being. Despite the early arrival, the resilient cow managed to care for two of the calves, displaying remarkable mothering instincts. Fearing the calves wouldn’t survive outside overnight, the Ingrams brought them to a shed near their house.

After a week, the strongest calf remained with its mother, while the Ingrams hand-reared the other three, known as “poddies,” to ensure their survival. Three calves were monitored in a private paddock for six weeks before joining the rest of the herd. Unfortunately, the two bull calves faced birthing complications and were euthanized.

The unprecedented quadruple birth captured the curiosity of veterinarian Peter Alexander, who has practiced in the Bega Valley for over 40 years. Dr. Alexander highlighted the rarity of such an event, stating that while he had heard of cows birthing quadruplets, it was exceptionally uncommon.

The veterinarian raised concerns about the cow’s fertility, questioning whether the surviving offspring might be “freemartins” with compromised reproductive tracts. Multiple births, he explained, posed challenges for both the mother’s pregnancy and the calves’ health, often resulting in premature births with potential complications.

Despite the odds, the Ingrams are focusing on ensuring the cow’s long-term health and reproductive capabilities. At just over four years old, the cow has already given birth to six calves, showcasing her remarkable fertility and defying expectations in the world of beef cattle farming.