Old Dalby farmers shocked by birth of rare triplet calves

An Old Dalby farming couple were amazed when one of their cows gave birth to triplets - a very rare occurence and something which has never happened since the family started working the farm more than a century ago.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:54 pm
The rare triplet calves born at a farm in Old Dalby EMN-210426-165905001

William and Jane Grice believed that Petra was expecting twins, which can be challenging in itself, but it was a complete shock when three babies arrived.

All three calves - two bulls and a heifer - are ‘happy and healthy’ at the farm, which is home to 180 pedigree Holstein milking cows, producing milk for Long Clawson Dairy.

The Grices’ daughter, Ruth, told the Melton Times: “I think they were a bit overwhelmed when dad realised that there was another calf to come.

Harry Procter with the rare triplet calves born at his family's farm in Old Dalby EMN-210426-165916001

“He did an internal check after the second calf was born, just to see that all was as it should be after what would have been a big event in itself. “But I think they almost fell on the floor when dad felt another calf in the womb.

“It’s been a really exciting event on the farm - we had our regular vet check-up afterwards and I don’t think he has seen many triplets in his career.”

Apparently, the chances of a cow having triplets is one in 100,000 births.

Normally the cows are left to get on with giving birth in their own time without the need for intervention but William and Jane helped out on this occasion because of the unusual circumstances.

Ruth explained: “If they hadn’t helped, the birth would have taken longer, putting the cow under more stress and increasing the likelihood of something going wrong.

“So that involved placing small ropes around the calves’ feet and helping to pull them out, one-by-one.”

Now it is just a case of keeping regular checks on the triplet as they develop.

The couple’s grandson, Harry Procter, whose mother Sarah works at NFU Melton Mowbray, takes a keen interest in checking them out each day after school.

Ruth added: “The calves have formed a close bond and have been given their own calving pen with their mum, away from the rest of the herd, to give Petra the space to look after three little ones.”