DAIRY farmer Joe Collingborn does not know whether to celebrate a hat trick or a double after one of his cows gave birth to rare triplets – the second time he has had such a delivery on his hands.
Cows have a one in 100,000 chance of giving birth to triplets – but amazingly it has happened to Mr Collingborn twice.
In 1983, his cow Nugget gave birth to three calves putting the odds on new mother Nell pulling off the same feat at millions to one.
Mr Collingborn, 67, decided to check on Nell on Sunday after morning milking was over at Hill End Farm in Brinkworth, Wiltshire.
The cow had been ready to give birth for a week and Joe was not expecting anything out of the ordinary Feeling around inside he found a head and two front legs, but thought the calf was a bit small, so checked for twins, which are reasonably common in cattle.
But he was astonished to find not two, but three calves.
Nell delivered the first two heifer calves with ease but the third became stuck and Mr Collingborn called vet Nick Britten from George Veterinary Surgery in Malmesbury.
Things did not look good for Nell and her baby but after 45 minutes, Mr Britten, who specialises in dairy cattle, saved the bull calf, and mother and babies were declared healthy.
The male calf has been christened Novet and will become a breeding bull.
Mr Collingborn’s wife Ro is yet to choose names for his sisters but they be called something beginning to the letter N, as is family tradition on the farm.
The heifers will join the 100-strong dairy herd at Hill End, which has been in Mr Collingborn’s family since 1910.
He raises cows descended from the Holstein Friesian bloodline started by his father William.
Mr Collingborn said: “This sort of thing only happens to farmers once in their lifetime.
“The cow that gave birth to the triplets is descended from the one that gave birth thirty years ago or so.
“So it is like they say – it does run in the family.”
Daughter Ceri was just a four-year-old when the first set of triplets were born.
While she does not remember the birth, Mr Collingborn has shown her photos of the new-born calves taken just after their birth.
This article was originally featured in the Express – https://www.express.co.uk/news/nature/879101/collingborn-dairy-farm-cow-giving-birth-triplets-baby-cow-calves