Terri Neufeld and her husband weren't expecting triplets from their small Finn ewe, let alone quadruplets. But on Tuesday, that small mother sheep gave birth to four babies on their farm near Hepburn, Sask.
"We had no idea. We thought maybe she was carrying two. She was just round, she just looked pregnant," Neufeld said.
Neufeld's husband checked on the sheep in the morning, and by the time Neufeld checked for a second time at about 11 a.m., she had finished giving birth.
"I'm eight months pregnant right now, so I'm very maternal," she said.
"My instinct was to pick them up, get them out of the wind, and get them in the barn. And then I think I spent two hours with them, just watching and making sure they were getting up to eat. Oh yes, I'm so in love with them."
The next day her husband went to assist with the birthing of their Rideau sheep. Based on her size, they were expecting triplets. What they got was a second set of quadruplets.
The eight newborns are happy and healthy, and the Neufelds want to keep it that way. They'll monitor their weight, and feed them lamb replacement milk out of a bottle if any need help.
"The mom can only feed two, she only has two [teats]," she said. "So it is a fight, but it's a cute little fight."
The Neufelds didn't use artificial insemination, just the same ram. They'll be keeping the ewes to continue their farm that they only started a year ago.
Quintuplets known to be born to the most prolific sheep
Trent Larson, who lives near Southey and has farmed sheep for fourteen years, says the probability of having quadruplets depends on the breed of sheep.
CBC Saskatchewan recently did a story on a one in 11 million birth of quadruplet calves. Larson said this kind of birth is much more likely for sheep.
"There are certain breeds of sheep that are more prolific than others," Larson said. He says Rideaus and Finns fall into that category, although quadruplets is still not the norm.
Larson farms Romanov-Dorset crosses, which he says often have quadruplets. His ewes have even been known to give birth to five sheep at time.
Larson said the Neufeld's quadruplets are still surprising, "but it's not celebrated as it is in cattle."