By ANDREA ARNOLD
Local dairy farmer Ed Zimmerman saw nothing out of the ordinary when one of his dairy cows gave birth to a heifer calf on the morning of Friday August 9, 2019. After the calf was born, the morning chores proceeded as normal. Checking back, however, Zimmerman thought the momma may not be done labour, so he placed her back in a birthing pen, and went to the house for breakfast. After the family was done eating, one of Zimmerman’s sons went out to check on the new mom. Sure enough, she had another new calf with her in the pen, and, she was showing signs of an impending third birth. Several members of the family gathered, and moments later, #3 made her appearance. All three heifers were a little smaller than an “only child” is normally at birth, but they still weighed a healthy average of about 60lbs each.
Triplet births in the world of dairy cows is quite rare, so this third baby was a big surprise. Often farmers do not know there is a third baby hiding during examinations. The likelihood of having three of the same gender decreases the possibility even more.
Following a similar birth in Fredericton in 2011, CBC reported the following:
“The chances of a cow having triplets, all female, and all alive, are about one in eight million, Holstein World’s website states.
What are the odds of having triplets? One in 105,000. What are the odds that the triplets are all heifers? One in two million. What is the percent of triplet births where all three are born alive? Twenty-five per cent. What does that mean? There was a one in eight million chance that this could happen.”
A week later, the trio is still healthy and up to all the regular antics of newborn calves.