An extremely rare set of healthy twin geep – sheep/goat hybrids – are proving more than a handful for their shocked owner.
Angela Bermingham is getting to grips with the pair who arrived unexpectedly five months after her pet nanny goat Daisy had a week-long tryst with a Cheviot ram in an adjoining field.
Romantic liaisons between sheep and goats only rarely produce viable offspring.
But Ms Bermingham insists there is no other explanation for the six-week-old twins, as they share characteristics of both types of animal.
Ms Bermingham, who is originally from the Manchester area but lives in Claremorris, Co Mayo, has christened her new pets This and That, as it neatly encapsulates their genetic make-up – a bit of this and a bit of that.
“They never separate, they are just like little kids, they like playing and jumping up and down,” she said, pointing out their extra-long “tree trunk” legs.
She said: “They are like deer and they are very, very fast. They can clear any fence. They were jumping off the window sill at three weeks old and thinking nothing of it.
“So I’m thinking I’ve got my work cut out here, a rod for my own back now.”
She said she had her suspicions Daisy and the ram were more than just friends when she relocated to his field last autumn.
The ram had already made a few incursions into her garden to visit Daisy.
“They were together for a week,” she said.
Five months later came the new arrivals.
“It was a shock,” she said. “How she carried them I don’t know because they were massive.”
Michael Holmes owns the farm where the encounter unfolded last year and his son owns the father ram.
As a former chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association National Sheep Committee, Mr Holmes has no doubt they are geep.
“Unless it was miracle, because there’s no other buck goat or he goat near them, so there wasn’t anyone else it could be,” he said.
He said in all his years looking at sheep and goats across Europe this is first time he has seen a geep.
“This is the first time I’ve come across it,” said Mr Holmes.
“What I’m told is it is rare for a geep to be born alive, and it’s even more rare for a set of twins to be born alive but for them to be healthy and live on is, I’m told, totally unheard of.
“And they are very healthy – they look in great shape.”