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TheRockies.Life Staff

Holy Cow! Family Shocked By Cow Triplets

In Alberta, cow triplets are not as rare as you’d think!

It wasn’t Christmas, but the Perreault family witnessed a miracle last month. 

The family owns the Perreault Farm just east of Busby in Westlock County.

During the early hours of the morning on January 9, the family’s five-year-old Simmental cow gave birth to triplets.

Allen Perreault helped the cow deliver what he thought were twins. But when he noticed the small size of the two calves, he became curious.

Allen double-checked the cow’s womb and felt another pair of legs. But he didn’t have time to be amazed. 

“He was backwards, and he came out backwards. We didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Allen.

Calves are supposed to exit the womb headfirst to have their first breath. 

Because the third calf arrived backwards, its lungs were filled with mucus, and it could not breathe. 

The family worked tirelessly to help the male calf breathe. 

“That was kind of the tricky part with the last one because he was kind of in there, and it was probably pretty packed in there with three calves. So, they get a little twisted up,” explained Allen.

The family was prepared for the worst. Most times, third calves don’t survive, but the little guy pulled through. 

Allen says the three calves are doing well but are small and need to be kept in the barn because of the cold.

The mother doesn’t have enough milk for her three calves, so the third is bottle-fed. The other two female calves will stay with their mother.

According to Allen, his son will likely take the male calf to the 4-H club in Busby. 

4-H clubs teach children about life skills, the outdoors, and caring for livestock.

Joe and Ella Perreault with the three triplet calves | Town and Country Today
Joe and Ella Perreault with the three triplet calves | Town and Country Today

Alberta Cows Beat the Odds 

A cow giving birth to triplets is incredibly rare. The odds are 1 in 105,000, to be exact. 

To put things into perspective, humans have a 1 in 6,889 chance of birthing triplets. 

The birth of cow triplets at Perreault Farm is nothing short of a miracle. 

Yet, Alberta is a hotspot for this unusual occurrence. 

In 2022, Darren and Kelsey Vandervalk and their three kids were about to head to Claresholm to watch fireworks when they noticed a calf lying in the field. 

“There was a calf laying in the field, and the mom had one foot coming out of her, so we decided to pull the twin before we headed to town,” said Kelsy.

Just like Allen, Darren checked the cow’s womb for one more. To his surprise, there was! 

“I think the odds are 105-thousand-to-1, and I pencilled it out, and I’d have to calve for 466 more years for it to maybe happen again,” said Darren.

Believe it or not, triplets aren’t a first for Vandervalk Farm. According to Kelsey, the previous owners also had triplets.

“The owners of this place previous to us, his mom, had in her diary that in 1959 they had a Hereford cow that had triplets here, and they all survived,” said Kelsey.

There are more cattle than people in Alberta. The odds of cow triplets are in our favour. 

Or is it something in the water? 

The Vandervalk family with their three triplet calves | Global News
The Vandervalk family with their three triplet calves | Global News

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