A ewe has defied million-to-one odds to give birth to a healthy set of quintuplet lambs – that have since been dubbed the JACKSON FIVE.
The incredibly rare set of five lambs were delivered on Sunday, March 26 and gave Head Stockman, Richard Clifford, a shock when he realised the true size of the brood.
Now named Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, the set of five are settling in nicely but have caused extra work for the farm as they need to be bottle fed around the clock.
Describing the rarity of such an event, Richard, 42, said: “I’ve been shepherding for 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I’ve seen a ewe give birth to five before but there are often at least one or two lambs that don’t make it.
“To have five alive lambs is absolutely astounding.”
Of the birth, Richard said: “We thought the ewe was pregnant with four lambs and she was getting a bit of extra TLC as a result – she was allowed to stay in the shed and she was being given more food than normal.
“I started my shift at 5:45 that morning and met with the night shift worker, Debbie, who was coming round the corner to ask me to take a look at the lambs as the ewe had just given birth to four.
“I walked round to see her and there popped out a fifth. It was amazing.”
Mother, who is a Masham Ewe, and all five babies, who are a Charolais breed of sheep, are doing well and continuing to thrive with a lot of attention.
Richard, who lives on site at Sledmere Estate, East Yorks., with his wife Laura and two children, Tom, five, and Emily, two, added: “The mum is a well-seasoned ewe – this is her fourth cycle of lambs.
“She’s previously given birth to four youngsters before. She knows what she’s doing – she had no problem getting the little ones out.
“Of course, she needed a bit of help feeding them – ewes only have two teets so we have been bottle feeding them four times a day to supplement mum’s milk.
“But they’re doing well now – running around the paddock and causing havoc.”
Sledmere Estate sits inside family-run farm Tatton Sykes Estate and houses an impressive 550 sheep, 960 cows and a herd of deer.