Farmer surprised to find ewe and five healthy lambs

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.

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 in to 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.

Since then O’Neill has been kept busy lambing the rest of his 110-ewe flock. Having started lambing four days ago, approximately 20% of his flock is now lambed.

Richard O’Neill alongside the only ewe to ever give birth to quintuplets on his farm

He has managed to successfully foster one of the quintuplets onto another ewe. So far, the ewe is managing to rear the remaining four lambs on her own.

“I am giving her plenty of oats and minerals. If I think the four lambs are putting too much of a strain on her or if one of the lambs is failing, I’ll take a lamb away.

“I can keep it as a pet or sell it on to another farmer who is looking for a foster lamb,” O’Neill said.

The farmer added that triplet, quadruplet, or quintuplet lambs require more minding than twin or single lambs; this is time that is already at a premium during the busy lambing season.