Holy cow! Limerick Friesian beats all the odds and gives birth to triplets

Aine Fitzgerald


Aine Fitzgerald

A COW has beaten odds of 105,000 to one by giving birth to triplets on Tim Shanahan’s farm in Garryspillane.

A COW has beaten odds of 105,000 to one by giving birth to triplets on Tim Shanahan’s farm in Garryspillane.

The four-year-old Friesian delivered the two bouncing bulls Jack and Ned and heifer Betsy on the family farm in Cloghast, Garryspillane.

“She is fairly shook after it,” said Tim.

“She is only four years of age, the cow, and she looks about 10 now. I wouldn’t advice it!” he smiled.

The chances of a cow going full-term with a set of triplets according to Tim “are slim”.

“My father Denis is 83-years-of-age and farming all his life and he never saw it in his life-time.”

The Shanahans became aware that the Friesian was due triplets after she underwent a scan last September.

“Believe it or not we scan all the cows in September - they are scanned the same as people - farming is gone so advanced. The triplets turned up that time in the scan. According to the man doing the scan, the chances of her carrying the triplets full-term would be very slim,” Tim explained.

Thankfully, the cow - who has yet to be named - did go full-term and Tim even managed to deliver the “hale and hearty” triplets himself without assistance.

It had been hoped that his 14-year-son Cathal who owns the cow would be there to lend a hand but it wasn’t to be. Cathal was in Rathkeale training with the U15 county footballers when Mother Nature worked her magic.

“I managed it myself. Cathal missed out. He gave two weeks minding her. He does a share of football and hurling and he was gone for a training session in Rathkeale - with the U15 county footballers,” said Tim.

Since the birth of the triplet calves, Cathal was been telling the story to all his friends in John the Baptist Community School in Hospital and the news has even travelled as far as Dubai.

“My cousin Katie Sheedy went to Dubai last year and I was telling her all about it on Facebook,” said Cathal, a second year student in John the Baptist Community School.

“For about two weeks there we were looking at the cow every day and we were a bit worried about her and then she just had them,” he said.

Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine place the odds of a cow having three calves at the same time at one in 105,000.

“It’s pretty rare all right,” smiled Cathal when told of the statistic.