ALMA, Mich. (AP) — If "spring comes slowly up this way" for Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the rest of us, the season hasn't been too slow for Clarence Davidson of Alma.
His sheep gave birth to quadruplets on the day before St. Patrick's Day, or about a month early.
After about five months gestation, sheep normally give birth to two lambs. Sometimes, they have one, sometimes three. But four is a rarity.
And no one was more stunned than Davidson when his 10-year-old sheep produced four.
Checking on her in the barn early in the morning, Davidson said he knew she was due and "I hoped she'd hurry up," he told the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant ( http://bit.ly/15Pj1Fw ).
Two of the lambs were already born when he walked in. Within an hour or so, she'd delivered the other two without help.
The ewe, who has no name, was inherited from his brother, the late Earl Davidson, who was the co-pilot on the plane that crashed near Ludington a few summers ago.
When he purchased the home, his brother told him that the sheep came with the house, said Davidson, who had no experience raising sheep.
That was eight years ago and since then, he's gained some experience. So has the ewe, who has given birth to litters of three several times, but never four.
He's bottle feeding two of them now — every four hours — while the ewe feeds the other two.
"She's been a real good mother," he said.
Usually weaned at about one month, the lambs will be put out in the field, where they will eat hay and grass. In the fall, he'll sell them, he said.
The three males and one female, all good sized, appear to be thriving.
Born a little early they were, but just in time for Easter.
Information from: Morning Sun, http://www.themorningsun.com/