The farmers knew that their cow was in labor, and so they were at her side to assist. What they weren’t expecting, however, was the result of the birthing. The humans watched in amazement as events unfolded, in fact – and what they saw ultimately left them stunned.
Cattle may be underestimated in the western world, but many industries do indeed make their living from cows. And not only do said bovines provide beef, dairy and leather for us, but even their feces may also be of use in the production of both fuel and manure.
In addition, cows are used as mounts or working animals in some parts of the world. They’re such useful animals, in fact, that they’re highly respected in India both religiously and because of their contribution to the economy. As a result, eating beef is largely forbidden in many Indian states.
And when you look at how much cattle have to offer, such veneration is understandable. It must be said, though, that there are some people in the Western hemisphere who also understand the animals’ importance; this is especially true of those who depend on cows for their livelihoods.
Take Chuck and Deb Beldo, for example, who live in Sebeka, Minnesota and have a cattle farm there. Their names may be familiar, however, as the pair have become internet sensations. And it all started when one of their beloved cows had a very special pregnancy.
What’s more, the heifer in question – whose name is unknown – is quite a remarkable cow. At the time of her unusual pregnancy, she was already a mother two times over; each of those times, she had given birth to a perfect calf. This state of affairs is not rare in itself, however, as cattle generally give birth to single babies.
There are exceptions, though, in which a cow will give birth to twins. Nevertheless, the farming website Lifestyle Block reports that there is only a one in 4,000 chance of a double bovine birth. The odds of a heifer having more than two calves at once are even more unlikely.
It’s certainly not unknown for multiple births to occur in cows, however. Indeed, in 2015 farmer Bernard Hoskins, from Cornwall, England, experienced a case of bovine triplets. Hoskins had left his pregnant cow while he ate breakfast; she’d had two calves when he returned and was in labor with a third.
“We’ve never had triplets before,” Hoskins told British newspaper the Daily Mirror at the time. “I’ve never even heard of anyone having triplets before. I think we will keep them; they are a bit special to us now.” Hoskins subsequently named the calves June, Juliet and May.
But while it’s possible for cows to have twins or triplets, the latter is rarely heard of. A multiple birth was therefore unlikely to be something that crossed Chuck and Deb’s minds as their heifer went into labor. But the old adage “third time lucky” definitely applied to the cow.
Chuck and Deb attended to their cow through her labor, and what occurred shocked them both. Deb was the first one to witness it, and she told CBS Minnesota just how amazed she had been in a June 2018 interview. “I’ve been around cattle all my life, and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she reported.
Chuck also described the birth, recalling the moment that his wife revealed how many calves had been born. “Deb’s in front of me, and she holds up three fingers,” he said. “And then as she gets a little closer, she [holds up four fingers].”
Yes, the birthing cow didn’t have two or three calves but four – which is a monumental phenomenon. In fact, bovine quadruplets are so rare that there is only a one in 700,000 chance of this occurring. But what surprised the farming couple even more is that the babies all survived.
So what exactly are the odds of all the calves being born healthy? “It’s one in 11.2 million to keep them alive,” Chuck explained. The future looked bright for the young ones, too. “I think we’re going to make it now,” he concluded.
And, understandably, Chuck wouldn’t have previously gambled on such an event. “A week ago, I wouldn’t have bet a dime on it,” he revealed to CBS Minnesota. That was a sensible decision, too, since the odds were firmly stacked against the farmer.
Thankfully, though, the new mother didn’t have to care for her calves alone; Chuck and Deb were there to lend a hand. Since heifers aren’t used to having so many children, the farmers volunteered to help the mom by bottle-feeding the calves in four-hour intervals.
And rearing the quadruplets proved to be quite the task; Chuck has described the endeavor as like “pushing frogs in a wheelbarrow.” The calves grew quickly, though, and soon both he and Deb could see glimpses of the cows they were going to become.
Chuck said to CBS Minnesota, “[The calves have] done really good, it’s amazing; you could grab a hold of them when they were first born. There’s not much calf there [now], and they’ve grown a lot.” But just as the animals were getting bigger, their popularity was increasing too.
In fact, Deb told CBS Minnesota that the calves had hit viral levels of popularity on the internet. “I believe there’s been 80,000-some shares [of their pictures] throughout the world,” the farmer reported. “That’s been kind of neat.” And that’s only the social media figures.
And, fortunately, the newly famous animals are doing well, according to an report Chuck posted on Facebook in June 2018. “The calves were more like Mexican jumping beans than calves one week ago,” he wrote. “They are doing great today! They are not out of the woods yet, but they are gaining weight.”