Young Welsh farmer in shock as ewe gives birth to sextuplets

Six lambs in a pen

© Erin McNaught

Welsh shepherdess and young farmer Erin McNaught has been left stunned after one of her Bluefaced Leicester ewes gave birth to sextuplets.

Farming a commercial flock of Texel crosses and Welsh Mountains on her grandfather’s farm in north Wales, Erin wanted to establish her own flock, and recently brought six Bluefaced Leicesters on to the farm.

The ewe in question had been scanned, and was expected to deliver triplets, leaving everyone speechless when she gave birth to six lambs.

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Young farmer with six lambs

Erin with her instant flock © Erin McNaught

“It was so exciting and a huge surprise – I’ve definitely had more than I bargained for,” said Erin.

Joking that it has been a great way to boost her flock numbers quickly, Erin said she had thought the ewe was in trouble, as she was a couple of weeks overdue.

“When the first one came out and was alive I was jumping up and down for joy. It was like a bitch having pups – they just kept on coming,” she said.

Row of lambs with the ewe

“They just kept on coming” © Erin McNaught

Erin, who also breeds and competes sheepdogs, is almost halfway through lambing, with the Texel herd almost finished and 250 Welsh sheep still to go.

She has made the decision to take all six lambs from the mother: “The mum is feeling quite sorry for herself and doesn’t really want to know them – and I don’t blame her,” said Erin.  

Young farmer hand-feeding lamb

© Erin McNaught

“I’m hand-rearing them now, and have given them colostrum by hand. I’ve got a milk machine which makes it a lot easier.”

All six lambs are alive and doing well.

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