A birth ewe will not ex­pect

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

Christ­mas cel­e­brates the mirac­u­lous birth of the Lamb of God so it’s rather timely an­other mirac­u­lous lamb has just been born in the South Waikato.

Less than three months after giv­ing birth to her first lamb, a ewe has give birth to a sec­ond.

It was on a De­cem­ber Tues­day night that a sign was given to Lich­field’s Maria Pater­son that some­thing out of the or­di­nary was about to be born.

Un­like the Three Wise Men though, alerted by a bright star to the birth of Je­sus, Pater­son was alerted by the un­usu­ally full ud­der of one of her four ewes - a ewe that was due to wean her Septem­ber 21 lamb.

When she went out to bot­tle feed one of her other or­phan lambs, Pater­son no­ticed the ewe’s ud­der was very large given she was soon to wean her lamb.

‘‘I thought geez your ud­der is big for a lamb that is nearly weaned. I didn’t think much of it at the time but now I know why,’’ she said.

The next morn­ing her hus­band dis­cov­ered a new lamb in the pad­dock.

Pater­son said that meant the ewe, which on av­er­age are preg­nant for 142 to 152 days, would have had to have been well into the preg­nancy of her sec­ond lamb at the time of giv­ing birth to her first.

‘‘Ewes nor­mally cy­cle about Fe­bru­ary/ March and from what I have been told from a sheep farmer, cy­cle three times 20 days apart and only do it three times so ob­vi­ously th­ese sheep are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,’’ she said.

‘‘I called all my family and Vic Thomas who owns the sheep and he couldn’t be­lieve it, he’d never heard of it be­fore.’’

‘‘Both of her lambs have come out per­fectly healthy and have been nor­mal in size. She’s taken to her new lamb now though and lets it drink and pushes the other one away,’’ she said.

She’s since spo­ken to her vet who also couldn’t ex­plain the strange birth.

‘‘Some might think I have ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied but I haven’t ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied any­thing,’’ she laughed. ‘‘I think it’s a Christ­mas mir­a­cle.’’ Pater­son said one of her work­ers has how­ever come up with a plau­si­ble the­ory.

‘‘They sug­gested the the­ory of two uteruses which would make sense be­cause how could she carry two oth­er­wise,’’ she said.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

The Lich­field ewe with her two healthy lambs born less than three months apart.

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