A one-in-a-million ewe has given birth to six live lambs, leaving one sheep farming family, full of the joys of Spring.
The Kellys, whose Carn Farm off the Rossdowney Road on the edge of the city, were left with cause for celebrations after their Suffolk ewe was blessed by St. Patrick and delivered four healthy ewe and two healthy ram lambs on March 17th.
It’s believed that the world record for the number of live lambs born to one ewe is seven.
Jillian Kelly, said her husband Thomas, and her two boys Ryan, aged 16 years, and Russell, aged 13 years, were up at the crack of the dawn last Friday as part of the familiar and exhausting 20 plus hours routine the livestock farmer endures at this time of year.
“They went out last Friday morning at about half five in the morning and Russell, who at 13 has the smallest hands and mainly does the lambing because of the size of his hands, noticed that there was something strange going on,” said Jillian.
Russell, a pupil at Lisneal College, who is a welcome and enthusiastic extra farm hand in the mornings and evenings around March and April, was delivering the ewe, which had already been scanned for triplets, as Jillian explained.
“It was due to have triplets but after he got three out, he said, ‘Daddy, I think there’s another one in there’, and then after he got that out he said, ‘Daddy, I still think there’s another one in there’, and then he got another one and he said, ‘But no, Daddy, there’s another one!’ Everybody was amazed when he pulled out this sixth lamb. At that stage there was great excitement.”
Thomas said six lambs is unprecedented and something he’s never heard of in over thirty years of sheep-rearing.
“I’ve been talking to my neighbours and family and I was talking to the vet last night and he’s never seen six living.
“They’re dead on. We’ve three of them adopted on to other sheep but she still has three in the shed in there,” said Thomas.