BECKIE WILSON

beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Until two weeks ago, Mike Wallace had never heard of a sheep lambing twice in one year.

But when one of his ewes gave birth to triplets, only five months after having twins, everything changed for the Masterton farmer.

“It’s not something I’ve seen before, and here we are on a bloody hobby farm and these things pop out,” he said.

Mr Wallace admitted he “hadn’t taken much notice” of his four-year-old poll dorset super-ewe after she lambed in June with twins.

But after he weaned the twins on October 30 – selling them for $140 each – and she lambed with triplets on November 30, he realised she was no average ewe.

The poll dorset breed was known for cycling early, with a sheep gestation period typically being five months and five days, he said.

At lambing time, Mr Wallace ran his 50 ewes in the same paddock as two rams.

“But she must have cycled again straight away, so she would have gotten in lamb a week or two after lambing.

“For me, I’ve never seen a sheep lamb twice in one year, let alone have five.”

Mr Wallace has worked on sheep stations all his life, and had never seen anything like it before.

He said she was a “really good mum” for the twins, and for her two-week-old triplets.

She bred with a south Suffolk/poll dorset cross ram whose mother weighed around 140kg — most ewes weigh around 60kg.

Mr Wallace was thinking of keeping the female triplets, “just to see what’s going on”.

At recent sales, Mr Wallace chatted to local farmers and none had seen it before.

He is interested to see if any other farmers had experienced the same situation.

While Mr Wallace downsized to a 14-acre “hobby” farm about three years ago, he has had prime scanning percentages.

“This is the second year that I have had 100 per cent in twins, there’s no mistake.”

The poll dorset genetics include high lambing percentage and at times producing out of season lambs, according to New Zealand Sheep Association website.