Nelsondale Farm welcomes triplet bull calves to the family

Nelsondale Farm welcomes triplet bull calves to the family

By Matthew McCully


Sunday, June 4 was a special morning at Nelsondale Farm in Melbourne. Adam and his father Douglas Nelson had the heads up from their vet 30 days into the pregnancy that their Holstein was expecting triplets, and the chances of everything going well were slim.

Luckily, mom and calves are all fine, and the three brothers will be kept together and brought to a new home in the coming weeks.

“We had the option to abort them,” Doug said, because of the risk involved, but they opted to be careful and take a chance.

They followed the instructions of the vet and the nutritionist about what to feed and how to prep for the delivery. “We did everything that they said and it turned out well.”

“She even cleaned on her own,” Doug added.

Usually with multiple births, there can be complications and require human intervention with the afterbirth, but that was not the case this time, Doug said.

“To the best of our knowledge, we looked at some studies and asked our vet. Triplets happen one in every 105,000 calvings,” Adam explained during an interview in the barn.

“Live triplets is another story,” added Doug.

“Live triplets and a live mother that’s doing well and healthy is even more rare.”

“Our vet said it’s even more rare that they’re all bull calves,” Adam said.

“Out of all the triplets, all the possibilities, that’s only a 12 per cent chance that they all come out bulls,” the two dairy producers explained.

So welcome to the world, uh?

They have yet to be named, Doug explained.

“We’ve actually found a family that is going to take them and raise all three together.”

The three calves will head to a farm in Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, close enough for a visit.

Choosing names will be up to the new owners. Of course, they will have to be names that start with the letter R in keeping with the breeding tracking system. And the family line of these three rockers follows a musical theme.

(Editor’s note: Chances are high one of the three will be named Ringo)

So, is this good luck or bad luck?

While Doug and Adam admitted during calving season they are always hoping for females, “it’s still pretty cool, and we’re glad that everybody’s healthy,” Adam said.

But enough about the kids. Mom is somewhat of a rarity herself.

“She’s had four calvings, and seven calves total,” Adam said, “Two years ago she had a set of twins.” Doug added that during her last two lactations, “we’ve had superior lactations.”

“She hasn’t stopped eating since she had the calves,” Adam said. And rightly so, she could use a break after carrying all that additional weight around.

Normally a single calf would weigh 90 to 100lbs at birth. “These triplets, when they were born, they weighed between 70-75lbs each.”

“Three that size, plus placenta, looking about 260-270lbs,” Doug calculated.

“She’s a good mother,” he said,  “licked them all off.”


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