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Montana Ag Network: Whitehall rancher welcomes rare triplet calves

Posted at 8:04 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-21 10:04:37-05

WHITEHALL – On Dean Briggs’ ranch, located just a few miles south of Whitehall, the best things come in threes — and triplet Angus calves were a recent surprise for the longtime rancher.

“This is the first set we’ve ever had, and we’ve raised cattle for probably 60 years, between my dad and me,” Briggs told the Montana Ag Network. “It’s amazing that a set of triplets would create that much excitement.”

They caused so much excitement, in part, because Briggs posted a photo of the rare newborn calves in the field with their mother on Facebook.

Since their birthday on January 29, the photo of the calves has been shared almost 4,000 times. Even people in other countries are taking notice.

“Everything from wow to amazing, to you gotta take really good care of that cow,” said Briggs. “It’s been interesting the reactions we’ve gotten.”

What you may not be able to see in the photo: the calves are all hungry and gaining weight. As of Tuesday, they each weighed about 90 pounds.

“They’re doing really well,” said Briggs. “We’re supplementing a couple of them with powdered milk. Just ’cause I  don’t think the cow has quite enough for three calves.”

“They’ll draft onto a new mother pretty easily.”

And what does mom think? “I don’t know,” said Briggs. “She’s probably overwhelmed.”

Briggs said the two heifers and one bull will be sold this fall. He’ll be devoting his attention to new babies because his first grandchildren are due in June.

No bull – they’re twin boys. “That’s a comment we’ve been getting, is it in the water?” said Briggs. “This is our year.”

The state of Montana doesn’t keep track of how often cows give birth to triplets, but research indicates it happens about 1 in every 105,000 births.

It’s especially impressive when all three calves survive, as in Briggs’ case.

-Evie Schultz reporting for MTN News