Belinda Bowman knew one of her cows was in labour, but she couldn’t have anticipated what would be in store for her on New Year’s morning.
The cow gave birth to triplets. It’s something which Bowman said she expects she’ll never see again.
Bowman – who owns BB Cattle Company in Granton and cares for around 50 cows – noticed during her regular morning walk-through on Jan. 1 that one of her cows was in labour. When she returned about an hour later, she thought the cow had delivered twins, but found a third calf by itself. Once the calf was guided back to the others, the mother cooed and circled all three.
“She was proud as punch,” said Bowman. “It took a good 10 minutes of us convincing ourselves that this might be a possibility.”
Bowman, who grew up in Denfield, has been around cows her whole life. She got more hands-on with cattle after her father suffered a stroke in 2014 and she started helping him out around the farm, which eventually led to her investing in cattle of her own.
In all of her time on the farm, Bowman has never seen triplets before. She says triplets are considered rare in cows, with about one in 100,000 births resulting in them. She said she personally knows of other farmers who have seen cows deliver triplets, but those births have always been premature or have had complications which led to fatalities.
But fortunately for Bowman, all three of the calves are happy and healthy.
Bowman said when she realized the cow gave birth to triplets, she was reminded of another cow which was born and grew up on her farm and gave birth to twins every year. She said her father joked that cow would deliver a set of triplets someday, not expecting to ever experience that firsthand.
“We laughed it off at the time,” she said.
Naming the calves was a task that Bowman decided to open up to her followers on social media. Though there were many suggestions, a late submission came in to name them after the iconic children’s musicians Sharon, Lois and Bram.
“They’re a Canadian icon,” said Bowman. “I grew up with them as a kid, so I had to add them to the list. It was hands-down the winner.”
Since she was unsure of whether the mother would be able to produce enough milk to support her calves, Bowman decided to buy a nursing cow named Buttercup about 10 days after the birth.
“She took to it amazingly for being in a dairy barn and never having anything nurse her except for a milking machine,” said Bowman. “Now she runs to them just like their own mother does.”
With Buttercup being added to the farm, Bowman said the mother is doing well, and both are getting “a little extra TLC” to make sure they’re able to care for the calves.
“Everyone keeps congratulating me on the triplets, but I didn’t carry three babies,” said Bowman. “I don’t know that I’m the one that deserves the congratulations.”