Ewe defies million-to-one odds to give birth to 6 lambs

A ewe has managed to defy million-to-one odds to successfully give birth to six lambs on a farm in the midlands.

The exceptional birth made for an eventful night shift on the farm run by Richard and Ken Mathews – a father and son partnership – in Killeigh, Co. Offaly.

The lambs were born at around 3:00am yesterday morning (Tuesday, March 13).

Image source: Richard Mathews

The Mathews are accustomed to large litter sizes on their farm due to their prolific flock of Suffolk/Belclare cross ewes.

Meanwhile, in Co. Mayo, a 17-year-old ewe gave birth to a lamb last Friday – representing its 16th year in lamb.

Image source: Lizzie Gunning

The reliable ewe is owned by the Gunning family from the north-west of the county. Christened Betty Boo, the ewe was originally reared as a pet lamb.


Recently, a farmer in the midlands was left surprised after a ewe gave birth to five healthy lambs, without any assistance.

Richie O’Neill, who farms close to Multyfarnham in Co. Westmeath, was caught by surprise when one of his ewes had quintuplets. The ewe had previously been scanned with triplets.

Image source: Richard O’Neill

Speaking to AgriLand, O’Neill explained how he spotted the Cheviot cross ewe – who was in lamb to a Dorset ram – getting sick for lambing and brought her into a shed at around midnight in recent days.

I came out again at about 5:30am and there were five lambs in the pen with the ewe. They were all standing up and suckling; they were more like little kittens than lambs.

“It is the first time I’ve ever had quintuplets. She was just the second ewe to lamb this year,” O’Neill said.