A sheep on North Uist delivered a surprise last night…giving birth to five lambs!
Quintuplets are incredibly rare in sheep. However, the set born in Dunskellar yesterday evening are all healthy and strong.
Crofter Iain MacDonald and his daughter Joan could hardly contain their amazement earlier today, as the ewe stepped outside for the first time with her unexpectedly large new family in tow.
Joan was doing her rounds through the fields at 8.30pm last night when she noticed the Cheviot X ewe – which was scanned in triplets – had delivered the first of her lambs.
“I decided to leave her alone,” said Joan, “to give her some space while she lambed the second.
“I called back to see her after checking all the other sheep and she had given birth to the second lamb. So then I got the trailer to take her inside.
“Once we reached the shed and penned her up, the third lamb literally fell out of her. Then, we found a fourth in the trailer.”
However, the ewe was not yet finished with her surprises.
When she was checked again at 11.30pm, a fifth lamb was discovered in the pen.
A quick look around the shed confirmed the fifth member of the family wasn’t another ewe’s lamb that had wandered over by mistake. Ever since, mother and babies have been doing fine.
“We don’t know how often this occurs,” added Joan. “I don’t think we’ve heard of any sheep around here having five lambs before.”
All five Suffolk X lambs are thriving and well sized given the number in the set. However, one half of their mother’s udder was found to be deficient, meaning four of the lambs will be adopted shortly.
“This is her third lambing,” said Joan, “she’s about five years old.
“She’s quite a character in the flock, always standing up to the dog when we gather them all in.
“It’s a shame her udder isn’t right, but she’ll be able to raise one of the lambs.”
For the moment, Joan and a group of young helpers are assisting the ewe feed her five lambs.
Eoghain (13), Orla (10), Iain (10), Kate (8) and Alison (5) were having a great time helping the sheep look after her special delivery earlier today.