Chuck and Deb Beldo recently witnessed a rare miracle on their farm. In fact, the odds of this happening are just one in 11.2 million. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “holy cow.”
Chuck and Deb Beldo welcomed a truly rare phenomenon when a cow went into labor on their farm in Sebeka, Minnesota. So rare, in fact, that it only ever happens once in every 11.2 million births. “I’ve been around cows my whole life, and I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Deb.
It all began when one of the cows on the Beldos’ farm became pregnant. It was her third pregnancy, and her previous two births were to single healthy calves. Indeed, everything looked as though the mother cow’s pregnancy and birth would be completely normal.
However, Chuck and Deb soon discovered that the mother cow might be carrying more than one calf. They knew there was a chance that she would have twins, but, as The Sacramento Bee reports, nothing in their wildest dreams could have prepared them for the truth.
When the cow was in labor, Chuck watched as Deb kept holding up fingers for each newborn baby she saw. First one, then two, then three, and then four fingers signifying that a rare miracle had just transpired on their farm: The Beldos’ cow had given birth to quadruplets.
“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.”
Once the reality set in, Chuck and Deb knew that they had their work cut out for them. It was one thing for their cow to give birth to multiple calves, but to actually keep all of those babies alive would be another battle entirely.
According to the textbook “Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases,” the odds of a cow having quadruplet calves are 1 in 700,000. The odds of all four being born alive and surviving afterward are just 1 in 11.2 million. “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.”
The Beldos set about bottle-feeding the calves — two females and two males — almost around the clock. “We are looking for volunteers for that midnight feeding,” Chuck Beldo joked. They were small at birth and had to be separated from their mother because their tiny size left them unable to nurse. According to Chuck, a typical calf weighs 50 to 70 pounds. The quad calves were each only about 20 to 25 pounds.
At first, it looked as though the calves would not all survive. But, as the days passed, they grew stronger and healthier. Now, Chuck and Deb are certain that they will be just fine. The Beldos were able to secure colostrum, an after-birth maternal milk product, from their neighbors who raise dairy cattle, which was key to the calves’ health. “That was a big part of their survival,” said Deb.
Although they’re just down-to-earth ranchers from the Midwest, the Beldos’ story has made it all the way around the world, with social media users sharing the awesome ordeal and commenting to show their support. It has been a truly incredible — and exhausting — event for the couple, to say the least.