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Ewe have got to be kidding... lamb quadruplets born at Portapique, N.S., farm

Samantha Cormier feeds quadruplet lambs milk replacer from a pop bottle with a nipple attached. One of her ewes surprised her with four healthy lambs on Feb. 21.
Samantha Cormier feeds quadruplet lambs milk replacer from a pop bottle with a nipple attached. One of her ewes surprised her with four healthy lambs on Feb. 21.

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. - Bottle-feeding lambs can be a lot of work – especially when they’re quadruplets who are all looking to be fed at the same time.

Samantha Cormier has been helping one of the ewes in her small flock feed her four lambs, born Feb. 21.

Samantha Cormier has been helping one of the ewes in her small flock feed her four lambs, born Feb. 21.

“They all want the bottle at once and they’ll jump up like a dog so I’ve got some bruises on my legs,” she said. “It’s surprising how fast you get attached to them when you’re bottle feeding. I can pick them up and the smallest one will lay her head against my head. I’ve named her Daisy.”

Cormier first got sheep in October, but her boyfriend worked with sheep in the past. He has seen quadruplets born twice, but they didn’t live. Although twins and triplets are often born, healthy quadruplets are unusual.

Daisy and Samantha cuddling.

“I couldn’t believe it when these were born,” Cormier said. “I would think she was done and then there would be another one, and another one.”

The litter consists of three females and one male. Along with drinking the milk replacer, they do nurse from their mother at times and are keeping up with the growth rate of a single lamb born to another ewe on the farm.

“I didn’t know much about sheep so I’m learning as I go,” said Cormier. “The adults were more skittish than I expected but they know me now and run to the gate when I go out in the morning.”

There are about a dozen more pregnant ewes, and a saddle horse, in the barn. Cormier expects Daisy will be remaining with her permanently.

Ram-ifications

Sheep can remember other sheep and humans for years.

They are ruminants, with a four-chambered stomach.

They have 32 permanent teeth as adults.

Neutered males are called wethers.

Sheep have very good peripheral vision and can see behind themselves without turning their head, but they have poor depth perception.

Although the life expectancy of a sheep is usually considered 10 to 12 years, some have been known to live to age 23.

lynn.curwin@tc.tc

The lambs are sometimes able to nurse from their mother.
Samantha Cormier ensures that Daisy, the smallest of the lambs, gets her share of milk replacer.
Daisy enjoys being picked up and cuddled by Samantha.

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