Watch Minnesota farmers bottle feed their quadruplet calves
A farm family in central Minnesota has hit the agricultural jackpot: One of their cows gave birth to quadruplets late last month.
Now the calves — two boys and two girls — need names.
Someone on Facebook has already suggested John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Farmer Chuck Beldo seemed surprised that the calves, born May 24 on the family farm near Sebeka, have made it this far.
“I think we are going to make it now,” he told WCCO in Minneapolis this week. “A week ago, I wouldn’t have bet a dime on it.”
How rare are bovine quadruplets? Minnesota Public Radio and other media outlets cite stats from the veterinary textbook "Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases," which estimates the chance of a cow delivering four calves is about 1 in 700,000.
It's even rarer that the four calves would be born alive — 1 in 11.2 million.
“I’ve been around cows my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Chuck's wife, Deb Beldo, told WCCO.
And who knows what these odds are: The Beldos had a granddaughter born on the same day.
Chuck told The West Fargo Pioneer that he and his wife had just returned from seeing the baby early that evening when they saw one of their cows giving birth.
Two came out. Twins!
Then another, then another.
"Mom had noticed she was large, but didn't think too much of it. Twins are fairly common," the Beldos' daughter, Jamie Belz, told Minnesota Public Radio. "Actually, they had a set of twins born earlier this year, but unfortunately they came during the crazy cold weather we had in April and they didn't make it."
The calves were all black and tiny for bovine newborns. A typical calf, Chuck told the Pioneer, weighs 50 to 70 pounds. The quadruplets weighed about 20 to 25 pounds each.
Belz called them "little teeny tiny peanuts."
The calves were separated from their mama because they were too small to nurse properly. So the Beldos have been bottle-feeding them around the clock and Chuck jokingly told reporters they needed volunteers for the midnight feedings.
They finally had bottle holders installed, WCCO reported, so they don't have to handhold the bottles now.
Deb credited neighbors who raise dairy cattle for helping the calves survive by providing a milk product — bovine colostrum — for them to eat. "They're just like any other baby. They get fed, they're tired, and they lay down,” she told the Pioneer.
When the family announced the births on Facebook media from around the world — from as far away as Australia — began calling.
Now people are suggesting names after Belz posted this Facebook plea: "HELP!! 'The Quadruplet Calves' need names!"
Fred, Daphne, Shaggy and Thelma.
Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo.
Larry, Moe, Curly, and Shep.
North, South, East and West.
Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy.
The Pioneer points out that cattle farmers don't typically name their animals. The quadruplets' mama doesn't have one, though Tired seems fitting.
But the family has suggested these four little ones might be sticking around as pets.
“It’s a novelty, but I hope somebody else can have the next experience because once is enough,” Chuck jokingly told the Pioneer.