In the past two weeks, Peter Friesen has seen 90 ewes give birth to 253 lambs at his sheep farm south of Altona. 

Friesen, together with his wife and young children have been sheep farmers for five years. This is the second year that they have had several multiple-births. This year alone, they saw 19 sets of healthy quadruplet lambs and four sets of quintuplets be born.

Sheep and familyFriesen's children help by teaching the lambs how to bottle feed.

Neighbour, and fellow sheep farmer, Tracy Heinrichs, says this is unheard of. 

“We've been farming sheep for 25 years and we've only had two sets of quadruplets, so you could say this is quite rare." 

When asked if they have had a set of quintuplets in the past 25 years, Heinrichs responded,” Never, never. I didn't think it was possible.” 

Friesen says they are not feeding their sheep anything special, “I'm just feeding second and third cut alfalfa and feeding mineral tubs.” 

The ewes have too many lambs to feed on their own, so the Friesen family has had to take turns training the extra lambs to bottle feed. Currently they feed 80 lambs by bottle, which has encouraged Friesen to be creative with feeding.  

“Right now, I am making about seven to eight, 20 litre pails of milk per day, so I have to mix it up inside and then bring it out and pour into the feeding pails. [The feeding pails] I bought were too small, so I had to make bigger pails so they wouldn’t run out of milk so fast.” 

Friesen admits this has been a lot of work, but they don’t mind. When things get too busy with shearing, weaning, and vaccinating, he is grateful that extended family comes to help.

sheep feeding