Everyone knows that lambing can be a trying and strenuous time of year. Long hours over many late nights in all kinds of weather.
However, every now and then lambing brings a real surprise - something totally out of the ordinary.
For one County Londonderry family this year’s lambing season will be one they’ll never forget.
One of the Kelly family’s Suffolk ewes provided more than a handful on St Patrick’s Day - Friday, March 17 - as she delivered six healthy lambs, four ewes and two ram lambs, on their Carn Farm.
Twins and triplets may be fairly run of the mill but for a ewe to deliver six is really unusual.
Jillian Kelly explained her husband, Thomas, had never seen anything like it in more than 30 years of farming.
“We really couldn’t believe it,” explained Jillian.
“My sons teenage Ryan and Russell were looking after the lambing and Russell just kept saying ‘here’s another one, and another one’ - we were shocked.
“The boys were really excited and eager to tell all their friends. Ryan is a student at Greenmount and he’ll be telling all the ones up there about the arrivals.”
For young Russell this exciting experience came just a short time after he was named Newcomer of the Year at his local young farmers’ club, City of Derry.
Now the excitement has settled down the reality of farming takes over once again.
Jillian continued: “The lambing was very straightforward and we had no need to call in the vet.
“They are really good big, strong lambs which is amazing.
“We have left four of the lambs with the ewe and two others have been adopted on to other sheep - for her to handle six would have been very difficult - but I’m pleased to say all are doing very well.”
The arrivals had the family reaching for the record books - well, checking the internet at least!
Jillian added: “We checked online and the most we could find born to one ewe was seven - but six is still really something!”