Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lamb Quintuplets Born

by Michel Elben
Staff Reporter, The Delmarva Farmer

Hurlock, Maryland --When Darlene Goehringer and Arthur Wilson saw their Katahdin ewe was due, they had no idea they would be welcoming quintuplets. “The odds are about one in a million,” said Goehringer.

The lambs arrived on Feb. 5, Wilson’s birthday. “We knew she was going to have them and she was having a little trouble,” Wilson said. The couple said they put her in a separate birthing stall and was surprised when not three, but five, arrived.

Arthur Wilson and Darlene Goehringer
image by Michel Elben

“I can’t quote a figure, but they are rare,” wrote Susan Schoenian, Sheep and Goat Specialist at the (University of Maryland's) Western Maryland Research and Education Center, in an email to The Delmarva Farmer.

Schoenian said quads are more common, but rare in most breeds.  In a prolific breed, an incidence of 2.4 percent quintuplet births was reported in the scientific literature. The prolificacy of Katahdins is above average, but they are not classified as one of the prolific breeds.”

Goehringer and Wilson, who started with just a few sheep, have been raising meat for their own consumption for five years. They work closely with the university system and 4-H groups, she said.

“My family has been on this farm since 1909 and my father still farms. We try to keep it to a manageable level,” Goehringer said.  The couple raises 35 egg laying hens, about 100 meat chickens, mule foot pigs, hair sheep, Randall Lineback cattle, and Fainting goats.

Read full Delmarva Farmer article

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