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Rare set: Calf triplets born on local farm

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Spring has sprung and calving season is off to an exciting start on LeRoy and Sandra Paulson's farm located west of Park Rapids.

Although she was not the first cow to give birth on the farm, their black angus cow, Number 72, delivered a perfectly healthy set of triplets around 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 26.

The two bull calves and one heifer are a rarity. The Paulsons quoted the odds as one set of triplets being born in every 150,000 births and they have never seen triplets throughout the many years on their farm.

"Typically we'll have two to three sets of twins every year, but never triplets," Sandra said. "I've heard of it but I've never seen it before."

LeRoy figured the cow would have twins based on her size but he never expected there to be a third calf.

"She's notorious for having twins that's why I watch her close," LeRoy said, explaining they've been breeding her between six to seven years. "Last year she only had one so she had to make up for it this year."

When Number 72 was a heifer she pushed her uterus out and LeRoy was advised by the veterinarian to get rid of her. He decided to keep her, breed her and he's never had a single problem since.

"And now she's news," Sandra joked.

The triplets, named 1, 2 and 3, aren't identical. Number 1, the oldest and largest resembles a bison calf as he is brown in color. Number 2, another bull calf, is black with a white face. The last to arrive, Number 3, is the smallest and all black, resembling her mother.

"She had the first one and then I went and checked her and number two was backwards so I pulled him out and then I reached in just to check everything and there was another set of feet in there," LeRoy said. "I knew she would at least have twins, she was wide. But there were a lot of contents inside of her."

All three of the healthy calves started nursing right away on their own. LeRoy said that the cow didn't fight the calves, which can sometimes happen as well.

"I never had to help with any one of them, they all got it on their own," LeRoy said. "And that's very unusual. When there's that many of them they're usually kind of stupid, with twins you've usually got to fight with at least one of them."

LeRoy guessed they currently have 85 head of cattle on their farm and by the end of summer, they should have close to 200 head.

Sandra joked that LeRoy won't go to bed until after all of the calves are born, with nearly 60 births more to go they should be done by the end of April or the first part of May.

"Yeah, it's usually a good two months that I never see the bed," LeRoy agreed.

According to the Paulsons, keeping the calves healthy and making sure the cows' deliveries go well is critical to sustaining their farm; losing a calf means losing a profit.

"It's our life, it's our living," Sandra said.

"You've got to do what you've got to do to save them," LeRoy added.

"LeRoy's life is right out there. I always say, 'those are his girlfriends,' joked Sandra, who said she's never worried her husband will have an affair because he's around plenty of women - his cows.