Birth of triplet calves rare event

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, December 2, 2012

Local cattleman Henry Fairchild got a big surprise when his cow gave birth to triplets.

     He went to check on the pregnant cow on Nov. 4 and there they were.

     “I saw three heads sticking up and her standing right over them and I said, ‘That’s impossible,'” said Fairchild Friday.

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     As he recalled the discovery, the calves had a vacation from their pen and sunned in the pasture for several hours with their mama.

     Lamar Adams, Mississippi State University extension service dairy specialist, said the odds of a dairy cow giving birth to triplets are slim.

     “Studies show the probability of a cow giving birth to triplets is one in 105,000 births,” said Adams.

     He said twins are not that uncommon in dairy cattle, but triplets are different.

     “When you move up to triplets, that gets more rare,” he said. “It’s not every day you see triplets from a cattle herd.”

     The mama cow has given birth to two sets of twins previously.

     “She was mighty big. I figured it might be twins,” said Fairchild.

     However, she gave birth to a boy and two girls.

     “It’s very rare for a cow to have triplets and they live,” said Fairchild.

     Fairchild has about 27 cattle. He said he’s got too many of the animals to name them, so none have names.

     The lifelong Brookhaven resident has been raising cows since the age of 25. At age 70, he takes care of all of his current herd.

     Fairchild praised his cow for being so nurturing to her babies.

     “She’s a good mama cow,” he said.