Avid fans of farm animals probably know a little bit about cows.
There are many breeds of cattle, aside from the beloved black and white cows we’re so used to seeing. While cows vary by breed, it is rare for cows to have multiple babies at one time, though cows having twins is not unheard of. What is a exceptional is a cow delivering quadruplets — four babies — and surviving. Sadly, many mothers lose their lives during or after delivery in these instances.
Dairy cows are born year round, to keep a continuous supply of milk all year long. One dairy cow at Zuppan Dairy in California, due to give birth during the winter, surprised her owner. When farmer John Zuppan realized 4-year-old cow No. 5026 was pregnant, she was taken in for an ultrasound.
The average dairy cow gives birth to a calf that weighs anywhere from 75 to 95 pounds, and in this case, they believed the cow had two very large twins in the womb. That was surprise enough, but when the momma cow gave birth in December 2011, she didn’t have twins. She had multiple babies!
John had seen that cow No. 5026 had given birth to her twins. He’d gone over to pick up the twins, but when he came back, he found that there were two more babies.
After the surprising extra delivery, veterinarian Mike Karle checked up on the mom and her calves to confirm that all five of them were healthy. Hair samples from the mother and her calves were even sent to UC Davis to confirm that they were all related.
On dairy farms, twins are called a rarity. Quadruplets are virtually unheard of.
It is believed that this delivery is a 1-in-180 million chance. Talk about extremely rare births!