A POWYS farmer has celebrated welcoming healthy quintuplets during lambing – a feat so rare it is said to be a one in a million occurrence.

Gwilym Williams, 73, has been farming all his life, and has never seen such a rarity – certainly with all five lambs surviving.

But the mother, a cross Texel ewe, and her five little ones, are alive and well, and will be enjoying the warmer confines of the sheds at Blaenglynolwyn farm, near Newbridge-on-Wye, for a few weeks.

“It’s the first ewe I’ve ever had with five lambs that all stayed alive and I’ve been farming all my life,” said Gwilym, who is also a former Powys county councillor.

“You might get it happening but one or two always die. I know other farmers have had five lambs before, but it’s rare they all stay alive.

County Times:  Gwilym and his grandson Eriyn Griffiths, pictured with the mother and five healthy lambs. Gwilym and his grandson Eriyn Griffiths, pictured with the mother and five healthy lambs. (Image: Gwilym Williams)

“They’re still in the buildings, we’re feeding the lambs with milk because there are too many for her (the mother) to feed on her own.

“She’s chewing cud now but she was a bit droopy for a few days. She’s a fairly large ewe but I don’t know how she squeezed them all in there to be honest.”

The mother gave birth on Saturday, March 30. “We will keep her inside now as we have to feed the lambs by hand,” Gwilym said.

“They’re doing OK but are still very delicate and small so if we put them outside in the wet weather they could starve and I’ll be chasing them around the field.

“We will probably keep them in for several weeks. They’re coming on well.”

Gwilym said in all his years lambing, 2024 is the wettest time he can ever remember, although that may have helped the rare phenomenon.


Most of his 550 ewes have been inside since just after Christmas. “Perhaps that has given her and them a chance,” he said.

It’s a happier lambing season for Gwilym this time around, compared to three years ago.

Gwilym, who represented the Disserth and Trecoed ward on Powys County Council for many years until recently, said he was lucky to be alive after contracting coronavirus in February 2021, just before the start of lambing.

Gwilym attended Hereford County Hospital initially but was sent home as his breathing seemed fine. It was only when he returned home that the virus took hold, leaving him bedridden for two weeks.

He recovered and then had his first Covid vaccination, although he was more concerned at being hit at the worst part of the year for any farmer – lambing time.

Rare occurrence? Not in Powys, apparently

A ewe giving birth to five lambs, especially five that all remain alive, is supposedly so rare the chances of it occurring are one in a million.

And yet, this is the third time it’s happened in Powys in the last six years.

Callum Mytton and fiancé Mary Bailey, who farm between Llanfihangel-yng-Ngwynfa and Dolanog, were shocked to find a sheep from their flock of Texel cross ewes had given birth to quintuplets in December 2022.

“After the fourth one was born, we sat there and watched the lambs climb to their feet and try and tuck under their mum for some milk, only to find the ewe was pushing a fifth one out,” said Mary.

“Triplets are quite common in some breed of ewes and most farmers will see the odd quadruplet in their lambing season but it is very rare to see quintuplets scanned and born alive.”