Highland cow surprises farmer by delivering triplets

Kintyre farmer David Laing got a huge surprise when one of his Highland cows gave birth to triplets, not only because it is so rare but because he had been told she was carrying twins.
David Laing was surprised to find that his Highland cow had given birth to triplets.

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A Kintyre farmer was surprised to learn one of his Highland cows was expecting twins – but he got an even bigger surprise when she safely delivered triplets!

When the pedigree cow, registered as Ceiteag of Stac a Chagair with the Highland Cattle Society, was scanned, her owner David Laing was told she was carrying two calves.

This is not a common occurrence in Highland cattle, which are a fairly small breed, but it is practically unheard of for a Highlander to deliver three healthy calves from one pregnancy.

But that is what happened about three weeks ago at Killean, where David rents some land.

David Laing was surprised to find that his Highland cow had given birth to triplets.
David Laing was surprised to find that his Highland cow had given birth to triplets.

He explained that after seeing the expected twins safely delivered, he returned to his house in Muasdale for the night.

‘The next day I came up and standing there was the mother and two calves,’ he said. ‘Then I heard this noise and I wondered what it was. I heard it again and two seconds later, a third calf came out of the rushes.

‘I got quite a surprise. We were expecting twins but we got a wee bonus!’

The third calf was 'a wee bonus'.
The third calf was ‘a wee bonus’.

The all-female triplets – which have been named Penny, Poppy and Princess by David’s wife Kate – were sired by Lachlan first of Stac a Chair.

Meet Penny, Poppy and Princess, Kintyre's adorable Highland calf triplets.
Meet Penny, Poppy and Princess, Kintyre’s adorable Highland calf triplets.

David said their mother, a second calver, is managing to feed the trio herself with just a ‘wee bit’ of assistance.

Born to dam Ceiteag first of Ghiol, sired by Jock of Isle of Bute, the five-year-old cow appeared at Kintyre Agricultural Show when she was two.

Kintyre farmer David Laing got a huge surprise when one of his Highland cows gave birth to triplets, not only because it is so rare but because he had been told she was carrying twins.
The mother and her three calves are doing well.

In his 30 years of farming, David has never heard of a Highland cow delivering healthy triplets and he said he will ‘let her off’ if the triplets’ mother is not in-calf next year.

David originally moved to Kintyre with his family during his childhood. He worked for some time at Largie before moving to Islay with Kate about 30 years ago.

Kate worked as a geography teacher on the island while David was farm manager at the RSPB’s nature reserve at the Mull of Oa.

When David left that job two years ago, he struggled to find land for his livestock on Islay so he moved them to Kintyre.

The couple now split their time between Islay and Kintyre, so David can keep an eye on his livestock, including his remarkable newest additions.

The triplets and their mother are enjoying being outside in the sunshine at Killean.
The triplets and their mother are enjoying being outside in the sunshine at Killean.