It happened now. They had a shock when they saw what the cow gave birth to. No one finds an explanation for it..

David and Julie Ingram, who raise beef cattle in Bonang, east Gippsland, were shocked to learn that their purebred Hereford cow gave birth to quadruplets in May. This unusual event was the second time the cow had been pregnant on their land; the first birth had been twins.

The Ingrams were surprised by the quadruplets even though they are accustomed to multiple deliveries, having seen eight sets this year alone and 12 sets of twins in 2018. “I said to Julie the night before she calved, ‘there’ll be a set of twins there tonight,’ but when we went down the next day, we counted one, and then two, and then three, and then oh … there are four,” stated Mr. Ingram.

The Ingrams were concerned because the birth, which resulted in two heifers and two bull calves, happened three to four weeks early. Anticipating numerous births, the couple decided to remove the cow and place her in a well-fed field close to the house. Ms. Ingram remarked, “I’ve never heard of four before, so it’s very unusual.”

The cow stunned the farmers by caring for and feeding two of the calves on her own, even though the delivery was preterm. The Ingrams brought the babies inside and kept the mother near to them by putting them in a shed out of concern for their welfare. After some time, they decided to raise three of the calves by hand, keeping the strongest with its mother.

Three of the calves were released to join the rest of the herd after being observed for six weeks in a private pasture. Sadly, the two bull calves had health issues from birth, which forced their euthanasia.

Veterinarian Peter Alexander, who has worked in the Bega Valley for more than 40 years, is intrigued by the uncommon quadruple birth. “I’d have to look in the Guinness Book of Records or something,” said a shocked Dr. Alexander.

Dr. Alexander noted that cows normally ovulate one egg at a time, which helps to explain why quadruplet births in cattle are uncommon. “This would mean she’s ovulated four eggs rather than one,” he said. There are acknowledged difficulties associated with multiple births in cows, such as an increased chance of preterm birth.

Dr. Alexander expressed concern for the remaining children, pointing out that they might be “freemartins,” heifers born as twins with a bull calf that might be aberrant in its reproductive tract. The Ingrams, committed to preserving cow fertility, stressed the significance of paying attention to the well-being of their exceptional cow, who has given birth to six calves at the age of slightly over four.

The tenacious cow has overcome expectations despite what appeared to be a stacked deck, giving the Ingrams hope for her future reproductive success.



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