DNA testing ordered on rare set of DeKalb, TX quadruplet calves

Rare quadruplet calves born in DeKalb

DEKALB, TX (KSLA) - DNA testing has been arranged to confirm the quadruplet calves born to a DeKalb, TX cow last week.

Owner Jimmy Barling says all 4 calves, now one week old, are getting around and doing well.

In fact, they say Baby Moo is "running and jumping and curious," and that "he and his mother appear to be getting along every well together, which is a good sign."

Moo is one of the 3 males born to the cow, identified as #15.

Siblings Eeny, Meeny and the heifer, Miney are with surrogate families and friends of the Barlings.

The odds of a cow having quadruplets with all 4 surviving are said to be more than one in 11 million.

"We weren't expecting for it to happen," Barling says of the quadruple calving, "and then just, 'Bang!' It happened right in front of our eyes."

In spite of witnessing the births, Barling says he and his wife Dora have decided to go ahead with DNA testing.

"So that way, we've got scientific validation that these are, even if something happens to one of them, we've got proof that they're all siblings, and the mother really is the mother," Barling explains.

Small tissue samples will be taken from each of the calves' ears and compared to hair samples taken from the cow's tail.

Dora Rumsey-Barling says the cow, identified by her #15 ear tag, gave birth to a single calf, about 5 years ago.

Veterinarian and neighbor Dr. Michael Baird says #15 is a common crossbred commercial cow, naturally-bred with an Angus bull without any fertility drugs.

Females born to cows in any multiple birth involving male siblings are usually sterile, due to exposure to masculinizing hormones in utero produced by sibling males.

Such heifers are known as "freemartins."

Dr. Baird says they are typically born with only small, non-active reproductive organs.

Whether Meeny is a freemartin has yet to be confirmed, but with as much "masculine hormones" as she would have been exposed to from her male siblings, it's highly likely.

Results from the DNA testing, which will be conducted by Lincoln, Nebraska-based GeneSeek, could take a few weeks.

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