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'Healthy, happy calves': Cow gives birth to rare set of quadruplets in Saskatchewan

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A Saskatchewan family won the bovine lottery after their cow gave birth to a rare set of quadruplets.

Mark and Erin Van Haastert raise cattle on a ranch near Bjorkdale, about 40 kilometres from Tisdale.

Erin was checking on the herd one cold spring morning when a cow made her do a double take.

“I could see two little heads sticking up and I thought ‘oh goodness a set of twins’,” she said.

She went to get a sleigh to help bring them into the barn, and she was soon met with another surprise.

“By the time I got back with a sleigh there was a third one, so then I thought “oh my goodness a set of triplets’,” Erin said.

But it didn’t stop there. When her husband Mark went to check on the cow an hour later he thought “holy cow” there’s a fourth one.

(Stacey Hein/CTV News)

The Van Haasterts said the calves were weak at first because they were born a few weeks premature.

“We just warmed them up. Spent a lot of time, the first two days, feeding them every couple hours, a cup at a time, just so they could survive,” Mark said.

The little heifers had a colour marking to tell them apart, but Van Haastert’s daughter wanted to take is a step further.

She named them ‘Orangala’ , ‘Greenelope’, ‘Bluethany’ and ‘Nobody’, while the mother cow was named ‘somebody’.

The Van Haasterts said the chances of conceiving quadruplet calves is about one in 700,000.

(Stacey Hein/CTV News)

Dr. Colin Palmer, a veterinarian who specializes in large animal reproduction, said quadruplet calves’ survival is extremely rare.

“Looking through reports, a number that you see come up for live-born quadruplets is one in 11.2 million,” he said.

calvesHe said the fact that this set beat the odds speaks to the dedication of Saskatchewan farmers. He added it’s remarkable the mother didn’t need any help at birth.“I think it’s amazing this occurred without intervention,” he said.

The Van Haasterts shared their story on social media and received an outpour of support. Erin said one woman in Nebraska, USA, offered to make individual name tags for each calf.

The quadruplets are now two weeks old and they’re thriving.

“So from here on in, they should be healthy, happy calves for the rest of their lives,” Erin said.

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