What a ‘hardy' bunch! Mervyn Hardy and his brother, Edward, get a helping hand from their neighbour, Paul Darcy (middle) and his son Matthew as they proudly watch over the history-making set of six lambs born on the Hardy farm just after Christmas.

Historic birth of six 'Hardy' lambs!

Although they are completely unaware of it, six newborn lambs in Offaly may be about to enter the history books after they were all born to the same ewe just three days after Christmas.

The chances of a ewe giving birth to sextuplets are rated at “one in a million” so not surprisingly the record-breaking lambs have been the toast of the nation since their dramatic arrival on the farm of Lydia Hardy and her sons, Mervyn and Edward at Boolanarig, Birr on December 28 last – even featuring on the Six One News on RTE 1 television earlier this week!

Mervyn Hardy is a long-serving and extremely popular employee of J Grennan & Sons in Rath, where he has been inundated with congratulations since the arrival of the six lambs, all of whom were given the seasonal names of Holly, Ivy, Carol, Prancer, Lancer and Rudolph to mark their festive arrival.

Lydia Hardy said she was expecting the Texel Cross ewe, who was mated to a Charolais ram, to give birth to one or two lambs, which was the norm on the Hardy farm, but she couldn't believe her eyes when the ewe gave birth to six lambs over a seven hour period.

“It is a magnificent achievement for any ewe to even give birth to twins or triplets, and they are rare enough in a flock, but to have six healthy and hardy lambs is simply amazing,” says proud neighbour, Michael Dolan, who works alongside Mervyn Hardy in J Grennan & Sons.

“It is a great tribute to the farming skills and the hard work of Mervyn, Lydia and Edward that we are celebrating this wonderful story ten days after the birth,” points out Michael, “as there is a lot of hard work involved in rearing baby lambs.”

While the mother ewe has enough milk for three of her baby lambs, the other three have had to be bottle fed every two to three hours around the clock since they were born.

“All the neighbours have  been giving a helping hand with the feeding whenever they can, but the bulk of the work has been done by the family themselves,” says Michael Dolan, who adds that it has been “an extremely busy, but very exciting time” for Mervyn, Edward and Lydia.

Given the Hardy family's close association with Grennan's of Rath, the lambs will naturally avail of follow-on solid food from the company's range in due course. Despite being just two weeks old they have already featured prominently on the Grennan's Facebook page and are sure to be used in many advertising campaigns in the future.

For the moment the six lambs will remain on the Hardy farm, but the family have indicated that they may sell Lancer, Prancer and Rudolph at a later stage as rams, while they may hold onto Holly, Ivy and Carol as breeding ewes.

'Ewe' knows, history might repeat itself at some stage in the future!

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