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Quadruplet lambs born for third year in a row in Laporte

Frank and Debra Vogeltanz show off Sadie and her quads, four days old at the time the picture was taken. This is Sadie's second batch of quadruplets. She had four female lambs in 2010 and gave birth to triplet females last year. All four of the 2012 lambs are females. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 3
Frank Vogeltanz checks for teeth on a lamb. By the time they have teeth, the mothers usually kick them aside to fend for themselves food-wise and the couple steps in with milk. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 3
Frank is nearly trampled when he brings a bucket of corn to the ewes that are still expecting. He cautions them not to be so greedy, but they never listen. He usually has to nudge one out of the way to make room for a second or third diner. "Take a number please," he laughs. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)3 / 3

Lighting has struck for a third time at a Laporte sheep farm.

For the third year in a row quadruplet lambs have been born. Sadie the ewe is nursing her second foursome. She gave birth to quads in 2010. Last year she slacked off - only giving birth to triplets.

Frank and Debra Vogeltanz are as thunderstruck as anyone over their embarrassment of riches.

"I didn't believe we'd have quads again," Debra said last week.

Frank went out into the field where the pregnant ewes are segregated and saw three small lambs clustered near Sadie April 22.

"Then I saw the fourth one laying behind her," he said, shaking his head.

Sadie and kids were quickly moved indoors under blankets and a heat lamp. Frank and Debra supplement Sadie's milk with formula.

So far the farm has the quads, seven sets of triplets and multiple multiples.

What surprised Frank and Debra is that this year they switched rams to improve the bloodline.

"I guess it's in Sadie's genes," Debra remarked of the multiple births, while the two new rams stood out in their own field openly grinning about their own testosterone. They knew something special was happening around them.

The quads and a set of triplets born the next day will be moved to "Bambi's Bungalow," a separate green structure named for the abandoned fawn the couple raised a few years ago. There the broods will be watched carefully and fed when the ewes run dry.

Vogeltanzes kept the two rams from the 2011 set of quads and sold the two females to an Iowa farmer who hoped they possessed that same rare gene. Frank and Debra made no such promises.

Sadie's a "girlie girl."

The 2012 quads are all females, as were last year's triplets and 2010's quads.

Sadie is getting so used to the attention, she stands posing with her brood, trying to round them up for the photo op. When Frank and Debra pick up the quads to show off, Sadie's head nudges them aside so she can be the center of attention.

She realizes her star power.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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