Goat gives birth to quintuplets, shocks scientists

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Scientists, who conduct research on domestic farm animals and farmers at Santombe village in Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape, have expressed their surprise after a female goat gave birth to five young.

This unusual event has attracted the attention of many animal researchers and veterinarians who want to take specimens and investigate the genealogical history of these quintuplets.

The kids weigh between 1,16 and 2.18 kilogrammes, and the female goat is already experiencing difficulty in feeding them.

Goats have only two active teats, and as a result, supplementary bottle feeding is necessary.

When the goat herder broke the news that one of the goats had given birth to five young, many people found it hard to believe.

Goat herder Ntsoke Mathibeli says he could not believe what he saw.

“The female goat gave birth in the bushes. I went to the place where the goat was and discovered that it gave birth to five kids. I phoned my boss to tell him that the goat gave birth to five kids because I wanted a backup, like someone to come and assist me. I came with these kids and my boss could not believe me. But I told her that these are the kids from the same female goat,” explains Mathibeli.

The farmer, Nontuthuzelo Dangisa who has more than 90 goats says she has been lucky as most of her goats give birth to twins, but she says the five kids shocked her.

“Every female goat gives birth to twins but the one that gave birth to 5 kids was a classic. I was very shocked. I’ve never heard that a goat [can] give birth to 5 kids. I’m shocked.”

A scientist Nkululeko Nyengiwe says the birth of five young is rare in goats.

“It is a very rare situation even if you look at the research station. It is one of our first incidence recorded. It might have happened before but this is our first record. It’s very rare because usually, goats give multiple births in terms of twins or triplets,” explains Nyengiwe.

Nyengiwe says genealogical tracing could be a contributing factor to the production of quintuplets.

“There might be various factors that might be leading to that. One, it might happen that the great-grandparents of those animals have got that trait. We call it a trait which is good of producing more off-spring that might be the first factor,” adds Nyengiwe.

Communal goat farmers in the area want to go commercial, but it’s difficult as no financial support is forthcoming.

In 2006, the Mzimvubu Local Municipality established a R10 million goat project dealing with processed meat, milk and hides.

However, it soon collapsed because of fraud and corruption and the infrastructure was later vandalized.

But the government says it is committed to revitalise the goat project to assist farmers.