Ewe produces six lambs
Supermum Alive and Well in Central Otago
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Brian Quinn of Alexandra with Supermum and her six lambs. The 5-y-o Kelso composite ewe has produced 19 lambs in five seasons. (Des Williams photo).
ALIVE AND WELL IN CENTRAL OTAGO
By Des Williams
Superman may have left his rural origins for the hustle, bustle and big city lights of Metropolis, but Supermum is quite content to stay in her quiet, sunny little corner of Central Otago, thank you very much!
Residing on the property of former champion shearer, Brian Quinn, near Alexandra, Supermum the five-year-old Kelso composite ewe last week gave birth to six lambs, with mother and babies all doing well.
Not that giving new meaning to the phrase 'six-pack stomach' is such a big deal for this passive lady, having previously produced twins, two sets of triplets and a 'litter' of five in her highly productive breeding career.
Mr Quinn says he marked Supermum down as a potentially high class performer when, as a hogget, she gave unassisted birth to triplets. The 16 lambs that have followed over the past four seasons have also entered the world without the help of shepherding.
"It's pretty unusual for a ewe with multiple lambs to get them all out unaided but this little champion has managed it by herself. The last of the six born last week must have been cramped for room because its back legs were quite straight at birth, but it's improving a little bit more each day."
Producing six live lambs is one thing, but looking after them all is too much of a challenge, even for such an experienced hand as Supermum. Mr Quinn has successfully mothered up a couple of the smaller lambs with another ewe, while the runt of the pack will be hand reared, initially at least.
Mr Quinn says Supermum is one of about 40 of the Kelso breed on his Earnscleugh property, with at least two others producing 'quads' this season.
And the number six has added significance for the tall man known throughout the shearing world as 'Snow'. As well as winning the world championship in 1980, Brian Quinn also won the New Zealand Golden Shears open championship six times in the 1960s and early '70s.