Birth of triplet heifers is 1 in 400,000 fluke

Left to right: Keith, Jonny and Josh Agnew with triplet Friesian heifers which were born on the farm near Newry earlier in the spring. The likelihood of triplet calves arriving and all being the one sex is understood to be somewhere in the region of 1 in 400,000.
Left to right: Keith, Jonny and Josh Agnew with triplet Friesian heifers which were born on the farm near Newry earlier in the spring. The likelihood of triplet calves arriving and all being the one sex is understood to be somewhere in the region of 1 in 400,000.

A Co Down dairy farmer is enjoying a new sense of novelty following the birth of triplet heifer calves from one of his cows recently.

Keith Agnew from Newry noticed the rare occurrence earlier in the spring.

The triplet heifers were delivered by a member staff on the farm on 19th February and weighed in at a healthy 24kg, 25kg and 27kg respectively.

Keith, who supplies milk to Lakeland Dairies, never saw such a rare occurrence. It is believed that triplets landing and all of them being heifers is in the region of one in 400,000.

“The calves are two-months old and flying along well. The cow is a great cow of ours here. She’s just 10-years old and is on her seventh lactation. She’s a great performing cow,” he said.

It is a family affair for the Agnew business. Keith farms with his wife Ruth with sons Jonny and Josh working full-time on the farm too. Ruth and Josh are in charge of rearing the calves on the farm.

Cogent Breeding carries out the breeding on the Agnew farm.

“Cogent do all our AI here and the sire we used on the cow was Wintersell Demon,” Keith said.

Ashley Fleming from Cogent Breeding’s management team covers Northern Ireland and he said the company is delighted to work with the Agnews.

“They say good things come in the threes and this is definitely the case on the Agnew family farm. The triplet heifers were sired by Wintersell Demon and is a prime example of the quality semen available at Cogent Breeding which is aimed at driving profitability at farm level,” Ashley said.

Keith, who sits on the Board of Lakeland Dairies, hopes the triplets will join the milking herd in the next couple of years.

“The lads were looking it up online and it looks like it is a one in a 400,000 chance for triplets to land and all of them being heifers. It’s nice to see. All going well, the three of them should make great cows for us,” he added.