Lamington's four take the cake

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014
Lamb quads
VAUGHAN WHITE
BIG FAMILY:: Lamington, a 3-year-old romney ewe, with Olly, Wally, Polly and Dolly at Te Horo.

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Farmers are wondering it there is something in the water in the northern reaches of the Kapiti district after quadruplet lambs were born a couple of weeks after a heifer gave birth to extremely rare triplets nearby.

Three-year-old romney ewe Lamington gave birth to Olly, Wally, Polly and Dolly on Lavender Creek Farm in Settlement Rd, Te Horo, about 10 days ago.

Farm owner Susi White has been raising sheep for 15 years and has never had quadruplets before.

Expecting the heavily pregnant ewe to produce triplets, she saw three lambs being born and was surprised when she went back later and saw a fourth.

"They were small but healthy. They play together and sleep together. The mother was great right from the start," White said.

To relieve a bit of pressure on the busy mother, she decided to bottle-feed the smallest lamb, Olly.

The chances of all four lambs surviving would normally be minimal, Sheep Breeders Association president Ian Stevenson said last year, when quads were born in Waikato.

Twin lambs were common, triplets were unusual, and it was rare for quads to all survive.

In nearby Hautere Cross Rd, Te Horo, farmer Ted Cobb was taken by surprise when a friesian heifer gave birth to triplets about three weeks ago. "We have had twins in cows before, but never triplets in a heifer in 60 years of farming. We couldn't believe it when we saw all these calves coming out," Cobb said.

The bottle-fed calves, which were born about half the size of normal calves, were thriving and being kept in a straw-filled shed overnight, he said.

His grandchildren were looking forward to taking them to Te Horo School's lamb and calf day.

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- The Dominion Post

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