When Whanganui farmer Jo Lourie told her husband, Iain, they had healthy triplet calves he thought it was a joke.
"Jo's been looking after the cows because I'm milking," Iain said.
"When she told me we had three calves I said, 'Yeah right'. I thought it was a joke in the early hours of the morning."
But Jo's news on Friday morning was no joke - and Iain was stunned to find not only did they have triplets that were all alive and healthy but the trio were heifers.
That's unusual, and also good news for the Brunswick farmers because in multiple births if there's a bull calf it's most likely a female calf will be infertile.
The 7-year-old cow had recovered well from the birth and Iain said it had been a surprise that she had triplets.
"She was a bit tired one day a few weeks ago when I walked them down the road but I didn't notice that she was particularly large," he said.
"One calf is a bit bigger and the other two are quite small but they all got up this morning and had a feed and Jo has given them another feed. We'll probably have to feed them three or four times a day for a while. I guess they're a bit like humans - you have to build them up when they're so small."
The Louries, who have a herd of 300, have had about five sets of twins so far this season but it's the first time they have had surviving triplets.
"Usually they aren't all born alive or there's something wrong inside," Iain said.
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"I've been farming for 30 years and I've been around cows all my life and I've never seen triplets alive. I'd say a lot of stuff has to go pretty right."
The triplets aren't identical but all have a similar marking on their foreheads, Iain said.
Artificial insemination (AI) technician Rod Ward, who works with the Louries' herd, said triplet heifers is "a very, very rare event and to have three born alive ..."
The Chronicle tried to contact local vets to find out how many heifer triplets they have come across but those experienced with dairy cows were all out on farms to help with calving.