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Ewe can’t be serious! Local farm welcomes quintuplets

This ewe pulled a late April Fool’s joke on everyone at the Weller-Huwe Farm in rural New York Mills. On April 22, she gave birth to five healthy lambs. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS1 / 2
Angie Weller, daughter of Leo and Tracy Weller, held two of the five lambs last week. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS2 / 2

April 22 is a date that will go down in history on the Weller-Huwe Farm near New York Mills.

That was the evening one of their cross-bread ewes gave birth to five healthy lambs with the assistance of Leo Weller: two ewes and three rams.

Voilet Huwe said she had no idea the ewe was hiding such a surprise.

“She wasn’t that big,” Huwe said.

Some breeds of sheep, such as Finn and Polypay, are known for having three to five lambs at once, said Steven Anderson, a manager at the sheep teaching and research unit at North Dakota State University. He said Hampshire and other larger breeds (such as Columbia) usually have one or two.

“It’s just very, very rare,” Anderson said of a Hampshire having five healthy lambs at once. When asked how statistically common it is, he said, “It’s pretty remarkable. I don’t even know how you’d figure up a number for that. ”

As rare as a multiple-birth of this size may be, Huwe said she and her husband, Albert, have had several other sets of quintuplets and quadruplets in the herd over the years that they have raised sheep.

The four-year-old mother, a cross of Hampshire, Columbia and a few other breeds, is doing well. Huwe and others on the farm are helping the mother keep up with her brood by bottle feeding several times each day.