Clyde Park rancher enjoying rare event
Thursday, March 19, 2020
2020-03-19 05:00:00

Jim Johnson, a rancher east of Clyde Park, checks on his Black Angus cow and her triplets Monday morning, March 9. The cow gave birth to the three healthy male calves Thursday night. Yellowstone Newspapers photos courtesy of Nate Howard

Born and raised on a ranch east of Clyde Park, Jim Johnson has seen a lot of cows. But one early March morning, Johnson was perplexed with the numbers he found in the nursery.

It was an event he had never seen.

One of his Black Angus cows gave birth to triplets — something he said happens only one in 100,000 births.

With calving season underway, Johnson had put a cow and calf pair in the nursery along with a second cow — tagged No. 71 — that he said was showing signs of calving. She had isolated herself in the pasture with her udder swollen.

At some time the night before, No. 71 gave birth to triplets, unassisted, all three of them males, healthy and taking turns on mom’s udder.

Johnson doesn’t expect he will need to do any bottle feeding, adding that the 5-year-old cow is a good one.

Johnson, a retired teacher at East Side Elementary of 37 years, runs the family ranch with about 50 cows bred with bulls.

He said every other year he might have twins but this was a welcome surprise.

Checking the triplets on the morning of March 9, he found another cow that had twins the night before.