Livestock: In a rare occurrence yesterday, a jersey-cross cow in Tsirang gave birth to three calves.

The owner of the cow was taken by surprise when his wife told him at 5am that their cow had given birth to a triplet: two males and a female calf.

Although all three of them appear normal, the male calf that was born last is slightly smaller. Soon after birth, one of the female calves drank milk on her own while the other two had to be bottle-fed.

“This is rare and something I have never heard of,” owner HB Karki said. “I am worried if there will be enough for the calves.”

It is the cow’s fourth pregnancy, two of which, were conceived through artificial insemination.

Gosarling gewog’s livestock officer Pema Khandu said that while cows giving birth to twin calves is quite common, triplet is a rare occurrence. The fertilisation process for triplets in a cow is similar to that of a human being, the livestock officer said. To form triplets, each single fertilised egg can produce a single embryo or it could split into two or more embryos.

He added that since the establishment of the Artificial Insemination Centre in Gosarling gewog in 2013 he conducted more than 600 artificial inseminations but this was a rare birth. “While two calves have higher survival chances, one looks quite weak,” he said.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang