NORWICH, N.D. – Lance Lenton headed to the barn one morning to feed some of his cows. He looked around a corner in the barn and saw one calf. The black calf was on his feet and looked cleaned off.
“That’s a good mom. She’s already gotten him cleaned off,” Lance thought to himself.
Then he turned the corner a little farther and saw another black calf, also cleaned off.
“Twins. Wow. And this one’s cleaned off, too,” he thought.
Just a bit farther and Lance saw yet another black calf with the 2-year-old mother cow licking her lips in the background – and looking pretty pleased with herself.
“Oh wow. I’ve got triplets,” Lance said. For a moment, he “kinda wondered” if another mother cow had slipped in and had a calf and left.
But no, the three calves and the mother cow were all in the same pen. They were all black male calves and the mother cow had a gold-colored coat.
Lance’s mother cow had the tag “123” in her ear and Lance thought it ironic that he had just had 1,2, 3 calves - triplet calves. Lance thought it was meant to be.
“I have never had twins before, let another triplets,” he said. “It is strange because I almost sold the cow last year.”
Lance took over the ranch from his parents, Gary and Gloria Lenton, and has been ranching by himself for the past few years.
“Mostly, I sell bred heifers,” Lance said.
The triplet calves were born on Father’s Day June 2019.
When Lance saw her, the mother cow looked as if she was filled with milk. She must had taken care of all three calves during the night.
A couple of days later, one calf needed more colostrum so Lance started feeding him. His son, Levi, enjoyed helping feed the little calf, as well.
Later, the mother cow needed more help, so they brought in another mother cow for one of the calves.
“Now all three calves are all very healthy. They were out on native prairie pasture this summer with the mother cow,” Lance said.
It is October now, and Lance plans to go get the pairs and bring them home soon for the fall. Lance worries about icy conditions and wants to get the pairs home before that could happened.
“It is cold this October so I will probably haul them home. Other years, we have a cattle drive in the fall,” he said.
In addition to ranching, Lance farms and raises wheat, canola, corn for silage, sunflowers and hay.
“I still have sunflowers left to combine,” he said.
According to Beef Supplement magazine, the odds of having a triplet calving in beef cattle are about 1:105,000. That makes it a rare occurrence