Triplet dairy calves George, Georgie and Georgina have been born at an Echuca dairy farm.By Jess Craig
In almost 100 combined years of dairy farming, Leon Ash and Judy Alberni have never seen a cow give birth to triplets.
Now they have three little calves balancing on spindly legs and guzzling at bottles at their Echuca dairy farm.
Mrs Alberni, who manages Mr Ash’s farm with her husband John, said she was surprised to see triplets arrive.
‘‘You get the odd set of twins here and there, but never triplets,’’ she said.
The triplets — two heifers and a bull — are the product of artificial insemination and were born on August 4.
‘‘We were walking back up from the milking and John spotted the mum and said she was ready to calf,’’ Mrs Alberni said.
‘‘He pulled the first one out, just to help her along and then he said that he thought there might be another one, because the first calf was small.
‘‘So he pulled the second one out and as a joke, he said he’d check again to see if there was a third.
‘‘Sure enough, there was. The artificial insemination obviously worked a treat.’’
Since they were born, the calves have been hand-reared by the Albernis.
‘‘They love John. When he’s on the four-wheeler, they follow him everywhere, especially if he’s got milk,’’ Mrs Alberni said.
Mr Ash was impressed with the health and size of the calves, given that multiple births were rare.
‘‘You can have all sorts of complications, you might lose one of the calves or the mother could get in to trouble,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s actually a chance that because of the multiple birth, the calves have a 50/50 chance of being infertile.’’
The calves were named by Mr Ash’s granddaughter, who chose to honour ABS Kyabram artificial inseminator George Melinov.
‘‘She called them George, Georgie and Georgina,’’ Mr Ash said.
The two heifers will likely be moved in to the dairy rotation when they are older, while the bull will be sold at the sales.
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