Farmer Performs Routine Exam On Pregnant Cow And Discovers She’s Actually Having Triplets

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

Nature can be truly incredible.

While the miracle of birth is noteworthy on every occasion, there’s something particularly fascinating about multiples. People love to hear all about twins, but are even more intrigued with bigger broods. There’s a reason why the “Octomom” was in the news for so long years ago — many just couldn’t fathom the idea of a single female body carrying and giving birth to eight babies!

When the mom in question is non-human, it’s often a complete surprise when the owner or handler discovers they are pregnant with an abnormally high number of babies. That’s because, for the most part, animal pregnancies aren’t tracked as closely as human pregnancies, which typically involve multiple ultrasounds at various stages of development.

One farmer in Southwest England had this experience firsthand, when his herd unexpectedly had a triplet birth… for the second time in 34 years.

Scroll through to learn more about this fascinating case!

Thumbnail Photo: SWNS

[H/T: Daily Mail]

Joe Collingborn is a 67-year-old farmer at Brinkworth Dairy, in England’s Hill End Farm.

Joe’s family has owned Hill End Farm since 1910. According to SWNS, he still raises cows descended from the Holstein Friesian bloodline that was begun by his father, William.

Joe experienced an incredible rarity back in 1983, when a cow from his herd gave birth to triplet calves.

“This sort of thing only happens to farmers once in their lifetime,” he told SWNS.


Joe’s daughter, Ceri Cryer, was just 4-years-old when the first set of triplets was born. Though Ceri says she doesn’t personally remember that birth, Joe posed for a photo with her to commemorate the incredible moment.

Cows have an approximate 1 in 100,000 chance of giving birth to triplets — so Joe never expected that a recent routine exam on a pregnant cow would uncover that yet another member of his herd was pregnant with three babies!

Joe explained:

Having done the morning milking, I thought I’d better check a cow that had been waiting a week to calve. On doing an internal [check], I discovered a head and two front legs. A bit small, I thought, so I checked for twins and discovered two front legs and a head and soon a second heifer calf was on the floor. I went in again and discovered two more front legs with a head.

The farmer was able to deliver the first two calves himself, but was forced to call for help when the third, a bull calf, became stuck. Vet Nick Britten was able to save the bull calf, and all three baby cows (and their mom) were declared healthy on October 29, 2017.


Joe and Ceri recreated their 1983 photo by posing once again with the three new triplet calves.

“One [triplet cow birth] occurs in around 100,000 calvings. For all three calves to survive is rarer still. I have been in practice 18 years and have possibly calved three sets of triplets,” Tom Oxtoby, a vet who works with Nick Britten, told SWNS.

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