A central Minnesota farm family is celebrating an agricultural rarity this holiday weekend: One of their cows gave birth to quadruplet calves.
The calves — two male, two female — were born last week on the Beldo family's farm near Sebeka, Minn.
Deb Beldo and her family took to Facebook to share photos and videos, and report the calves are small, but doing fine. The Beldos live on a farm that has been in the family since they homesteaded it in 1882; it's an official Minnesota Century Farm.
Daughter Jamie Belz told MPR News the family was surprised to see that the cow, who doesn't have a name, had quadruplets.
"Mom had noticed she was large, but didn't think too much of it. Twins are fairly common," Belz said. "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 quadruplet calves and their mother, however, were doing well on Sunday. Belz said the family was still looking for suggestions to name the calves on Sunday afternoon.
A few other cases of quadruplet calves have been reported in the past few years. News reports on those cases, citing the veterinary textbook "Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases," place the odds of a cow having quadruplet calves at 1 in 700,000. But the odds of all four calves being born alive are placed at 1 in 11.2 million.