WHITSUN the Dexter cow is full of surprises - three of them, in fact.

She's the toast of the farm where she lives at Dalby, in Ryedale, after becoming the proud mum of triplets.

Her three offspring, two males and a female, are full of bounce and vitality and the apple of their mum's eye.

Their home, Cliff Field House, is owned by pedigree bull breeder Lady Caroline Cox-Johnson, and the stock person at the farm is Deborah Marwood.

She said yesterday: "It's very unusual. We've had to have the vet in to see her a few times and he said it was the first time in his career he'd seen triplet calves. They've had a steady stream of visitors."

The birth was even more unusual because Whitsun, so named because of the time of year when she was born, is an elderly cow.

She is now 16 and cows usually live for around ten years.

Deborah said Whitsun had a huge stomach while she was pregnant and had a history of multiple births, having had two sets of twins already.

However she was amazed to find the cow had given birth to three calves all by herself during the night.

Dairy cattle are known to have multiple births, but it is rare in beef cattle, she said.