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‘One in 50 million’: Limburg sheep gives birth to six babies

14:19 23/02/2021

A sheep on a Limburg farm has given birth to sextuplets, or six healthy baby lambs. An extremely unusual occurrence, the odds of it happening and all the lambs surviving are about one in 50 million.

The event is made all the more remarkable as it followed a quintuplet birth at the farm in Riemst just a few days ago – in itself extremely rare. “Everyone is healthy and well,” sheep farmer Andi Meyers told Het Belang van Limburg. “We will definitely be helping the mother to give everyone enough milk.”

Sheep normally give birth to one or two lambs at a time. So what’s in the water in Riemst?

It’s apparently the breed of sheep – Swifter, specially bred to be fertile – and further selective breeding on the farm. “We have been breeding them for years with the express goal of birthing as many lambs as possible,” says Meyers.

Meyers knew that the sheep was in labour via cameras but likes to leave them alone during the birth to prevent stressing them out. So he only discovered the six after they had all been born. While it’s not the first time he has seen sextuplets, he said, it’s the first time they have all survived.

“They are all drinking and seem to be 100% OK,” Meyers told Het Laatste Nieuws. “Now we just need to ensure that the mother doesn’t get too weak over the next few weeks.”

Photo courtesy VRT

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw