Bjorkdale cow offers up rare quadruplet calves

Photo courtesy of Erin van Haastert. A cow in Bjorkdale has defied odds and given birth to four calves that have been named Orangala, Greenlop, Bluthany, and Nobody.

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

BJORKDALE – The van Haasterts, who farm near Bjorkdale in northeast Saskatchewan, didn’t expect one of their cows to give birth to four calves. All are doing well a week after being born.

On April 19 at 10 a.m., Erin van Haastert was out checking cows when she came upon a cow that had just birthed two calves. Van Haastert said the calves were cold and she went to get the sleigh to move them into the barn. When she returned, the mother cow had given birth to a third calf to her surprise.

Erin got all three calves into the barn when her husband, Mark van Haastert went to get the mother cow to bring her into the barn. Mark was shocked to see a fourth calf had been born when he went to get the mother.

Quadruplets are rare. The Western College of Veterinary Medicine said it’s about a one in 700,000 chance. To have four calves born live and survive, like “Somebody” has, pushes the statistics into the 1 in 11.2 million.

Mark and Erin van Haastert are ranchers in the Bjorkdale area since 2000 and have around 300 head of cattle.

All of the calves are thriving Erin van Haastert said.

“We gave them additional colostrum and antibodies when they were born and the mother is being a good mom. We are supplementing them as she just can’t keep up.”

The mother cow, now named “Somebody”, is a seven-to-eight-year Charolais Simmental Cross. Somebody got pregnant by a Simmental bull. Erin estimated that all four calves weighed 45-50 pounds. All of the calves are girls. They were born about a month early, so they were also given hormones because their breathing was a bit raspy and under stress.

Erin believes she has two sets of identical twins for the calves. The four calves, now named. Orangala, Greenlop, Bluthany, and Nobody are a week old and all are adjusting well.