Two Vancouver Island shepherds have their hands full after two of their ewes gave birth to sextuplets in the span of less than a week.
Lorraine and John Buchanan of Parry Bay Sheep Farm in Metchosin say one of their flock gave birth to six lambs on Friday.
At first, they thought their ewe had birthed five little ones.
"We thought, 'Oh, she's having quints, that's pretty good,'" Lorraine said. "We went out to the fields to check our other sheep and came back and she had a sixth one. We were surprised."
Three days later, another set of sextuplets arrived.
"John found them when he went down in the morning and they were sort of scattered all over the barn," she said. "One of the other ewes who was about to lamb had stolen one, and they were here and there and everywhere."
Three of those lambs are with their mother, two are in a bottle pen, and one is with a ewe that lost her lamb, Lorraine said.
As for the first set, three are on the bottle and three will go out with their mother on Thursday.
Lorraine said it's not unusual for ewes in their flock to give birth to two or three lambs. But having a set of sextuplets, let alone two, is rare.
Things aren't slowing down for a while. John said their farm still has 12 or more births a day, a pace that is expected to ease in about 10 days, with "stragglers" carrying on for another month or so.
"They keep us hopping," John said.
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