Rare quintuplet lambs end up in caring hands

Claire TyrrellCountryman
Clare Simms and Shaun the sheep keep an eye on the lambs at Uduc.
Camera IconClare Simms and Shaun the sheep keep an eye on the lambs at Uduc. Credit: Picture: David MacPherson/DRM Photography

The odds of a sheep giving birth to five lambs are apparently one in a million.

But a stray sheep adopted by Clare Simms defied those odds this week.

The sheep, dubbed Shaun for the woolly state she was in when she was rescued, may not have even gone into labour if it was not for Mrs Simms, a former vet nurse from Uduc, near Harvey.

Photographer David MacPherson came across the pregnant woolly ewe in a mob of stray sheep this month and took it straight to Mrs Simms.

“It was in a really bad state. Clare clipped about 20kg of wool, infested with pine needles,” Mr MacPherson said.

When Mrs Simms noticed Shaun showing signs of potentially deadly pregnancy toxicity, she restored her to health with electrolytes.

About a week later, Shaun, a Dorper cross, went into labour.

“Every time I saw another one coming out I thought it must have been afterbirth,” Mrs Simms said.

“I couldn’t believe it. I have been vet nursing for 15 years and I’ve never heard of it (quintuplets),” Mrs Simms said. She and Mr MacPherson will nurse three of the lambs that Shaun rejected.

Other cases of sheep having quintuplets have been reported in Britain but none in Australia.

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