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'1 in a million!': Alberta family celebrates the birth of triplet calves

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An Alberta family is celebrating an udderly unusual occurrence – the birth of triplets of the bovine variety.

The calves were born on Allen and Sherry Perreault's farm near Morinville in the early morning hours of Jan. 9.

"[Sherry] said 'We've got a calf, we need to go out and bring him in,'" Allen told CTV News Edmonton on Thursday. "So I woke up, we came out, and it was just a tiny little guy. And she was as big as a house, so I said 'Oh there’s two in there for sure.' So we brought the one in [the barn], and we pulled out the [second] one by hand."

"He asked 'Oh, would you like a third one tonight?'" Sherry said. "And I said 'Oh yeah, right.' And he showed me the two feet and it was a pretty unbelievable thing."

The Perreaults say out of the 50 or 60 calves born on their farm every year, they usually see several sets of twins, but triplets are rare.

Sherry says she never saw a set while she was growing up on her parents' farm.

A set of bovine triplets was born on the Perreault farm in Alberta on Jan. 9, 2024. (Credit: Allen and Sherry Pereault)

"They say it’s like one in 105,000 that you’ll get a set of triplets," she said." To me, it's like one in a million. I don't think we’ll see another set even if we farm for the next 50 years."

Allen says the fact that all three calves have survived is also miraculous.

"Usually, they're so packed in the cow, when there's three of them in there, they all get tangled up sometimes and she can’t have them naturally."

Thanks to a little help from the Perreaults, all three babies are now doing well.

"They're growing pretty good, actually. I was surprised. I thought they’d be kind of stunted maybe because the mom doesn’t have enough milk for them all," Allen said.

"We had to bottle feed the third one for a while," Sherry said. "He wouldn’t stand up until the day after, but now they're all ripping around."

A set of bovine triplets was born on the Perreault farm in Alberta on Jan. 9, 2024. (Credit: Allen and Sherry Pereault)

Sherry says the calves have become celebrities in the community, with other farmers dropping by to see them, and they've been given star-studded names by the Perreault's children fitting of their new celebrity status.

"Wayne Gretzky, Hyman and Draisaitl!" said seven-year-old Joe.

Sherry says cows who have had twins in the past are more prone to do so in the future.

"This cow has never had twins before, so it'll be interesting to see if in the future she'll have twins or maybe another set of triplets!"

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson 

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