An Earlston farmer helped deliver healthy triplet calves at estimated odds of 500,000-1 at the weekend.
The Aberdeen Angus-cross, known only as No 954, gave birth to two heifers and a bull calf at Jim Fullerton’s farm at Corsbie late on Sunday night.
The unexpected Simmentals, named Enzo, Bonnie and Amber, were delivered by cattleman Alan Jackson.
“It’s very uncommon having triplets,” said Alan, 40.
“We have had twins now and again, but triplets are really rare. It’s possibly a one-in-500,000 chance.
“We calf close to 500 cows a year, but we’ve never ever heard of it here.
“In almost 25 years I’ve never seen this, and I’ve calved a lot of cows.
“I knew certainly that she was having twins by the condition of her, but I didn’t expect three.
“I pulled the second one out, and that’s when I felt another tail, not just two back feet, so at that point I knew there were three. It was a bit of a shock.”
Survival of all three is even more unusual, and while mum and babies are now doing well, their first few days weren’t without their difficulties.
“It’s fairly taken its toll on the mum. It’s not a bed of roses having triplets,” Alan added.
“It was a bit touch and go with one of the calves as she was really quite small, but they are all standing and eating now, so they’re past the worst of it now.
“We’ve seen an improvement in the mum too. It’s just taken a lot out of her – part and parcel with the job, really. A bit of TLC will do her good.”
Two of the calves weighed in at around 30kg and while one has found a new mother, Alan is bottle-feeding the other. The smallest of the three, half the size of its siblings, is in with its mother.
“She should be okay, but it’s worth us keeping the bigger two away from their mum to relieve the pressure a bit as she doesn’t have enough milk,” he added.
The farm – run by Jim Fullerton, his two sons, one shepherd and cattleman Alan – is calving almost 400 cows now and a further 120 in August.