NEW SHARON — Quadruplets were born Wednesday in New Sharon.

The lambs, three females and a male, surprised Georgia Tolman and her father, the Rev. John Tolman, who have raised sheep together for nearly 20 years, he said.

Sarah the ewe, an 8-year-old Katahdin hair sheep, went into labor last Thursday or Friday, Georgia said. 

The Tolmans were with her Wednesday afternoon but left for a short time. When Georgia went back shortly after 5 p.m., Sarah had given birth, John Tolman said.

Two had appeared when Georgia called him back to help with the newborns, he said. By the time he arrived, the third was born; and while they were drying the three, a fourth appeared.

“I told her to quit it right now,” he joked.

The lambs appear to be healthy and good-sized. One has a slight problem with its leg because of a lack of space in the womb, but Georgia said they were working it out.

A couple of years ago, one of their sheep had a quad of stillborn lambs due to complications during pregnancy.

“They can have triplets often and twins very often but not so often for quads,” John Tolman said.

Some breeds, such as Finn sheep, have multiple births. However, quadruplets are not common, said Professor Richard Brzozowski, an extension educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Based in Cumberland County, he works with sheep and goat farmers throughout the state.

The Katahdin hair was first bred in the 1950s in Abbot Village, west of Dover-Foxcroft in Piscataquis County. It has become a popular breed because they shed their hair and don’t produce wool, Brzozowski said.

The breed is low-maintenance — no shearing necessary — and raised primarily for meat, according to Katahdin Hair Sheep International.

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