'Pretty extraordinary': Southern Ont. farm welcomes rare set of triplets

A farm in Brantford added three new calves to their ranch, but the addition came as a bit of a surprise.

A pregnant cow wasn't due for another month when she gave birth to an unexpected set of triplets.

"I thought it was a joke because that can't happen," owner Elke Hilgendag said.

Bow Park Farm breeds Limousin cattle, which tend to have smaller calves and don't need human assistance with birth. When Hilgendag and Gerry Klunder found three calves one morning, they figured there were multiple mothers.

"There are many times we come into the barn and there is a calf sitting there that was born overnight," Hilgendag said.

But a month after the birth, the couple still wasn't sure if the calves were all related.

"I was skeptical until we received the DNA," Klunder said.

They sent out some hairs for testing, which confirmed all the calves came from the same mother.

"Triplets in cows is really unusual," said Stephen LeBlanc with the Ontario Veterinary College.

There's a one in 100,000 chance that triplets will even be born, and an even smaller chance they'll survive.

"The calves, they were so tiny, we just didn't think they were going to be able to make it," Klunder said.

"The fact that they were all born alive and continuing to do well is pretty extraordinary," LeBlanc said.

The farm is mainly used for crops and the couple said they breed a few cattle more as a pastime than for income.

Hilgendag said their breeding program is also an ode to her late father, who left the land to Hilgendag and her siblings.

"He would have been super, super proud," she said.