Five healthy lambs were born on the Vance family farm in Co Donegal on Christmas Day 2018

A family farm in Donegal welcomed five new lambs this Christmas when a prize-winning ewe gave birth to quintuplets on Christmas Day 2018.

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That’s Farming reports that the chances of a ewe giving birth to quintuplets are a million to one.

For all five lambs to be born alive and well is even rarer.

Speaking with the Donegal Democrat, farmer James Vance said: “It's the first time and the chances are I’ll never see it again.”

"Three or four yes, but five is very rare. The chances of five lambs and the chances of five lambs living are very slim.”

Vance and his family had just finished up Christmas dinner when the ewe gave birth on their family farm in Ballinacarrick, Ballintra, Co. Donegal. The ewe, who belongs to Vance’s 8-year-old son Nathan, is in good shape after the ordeal.

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“I was having dinner and I knew I would have to be quick as we knew she was lambing so I scooted back up as soon as I could,” said Vance.

“She had been scanned for three but I was expecting four. I started to lamb her and took three out and felt a fourth. It was like a Christmas bag, there was no end to it. I put my hand in and there was a fifth.”

“When they were on the ground I counted them twice as I couldn't believe it,” he said.

“It was a lovely Christmas present. I've not had much sleep, staying awake, waiting for the delivery. The minute you sleep, the minute they will come.”

Nathan’s mother Laura Doherty said: “My son is overjoyed as this is his ewe that he showed all year; the ewe placed at up to five shows this year."

"One of her full brothers was awarded four first prizes and was tapped forward as champion on three occasions and reserve champion including Bonniconlon Show. Their mother was first and champion at Roscommon society sale in 2017."

"The lambs are doing great and we cannot believe how good they are," Laura said.

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*Originally published in 2018