Sweetie has third set of triplets

Misti Allen courtesy photo

Ross Allen keeps an eye on his cow Sweetie’s third set of triplets Feb. 18, the day the three little bulls were born. One bull did not make it. Sweetie has been bred with different bulls every time she’s gotten pregnant.

Cinthia Stimson, cinthia@glenrockind.com


You probably already know it’s calving season in Wyoming – but do you know that there’s a pretty incredible black angus cow named Sweetie in Rolling Hills who gave birth to triplet bulls Feb. 18?

Here’s the incredible part: This is Sweetie’s third set of triplets. In fact, she’s been pregnant four times in five years and given birth to 10 calves.



She gave birth for the first time to a single heifer. In 2019 she had her first set of triplets, two heifers and a bull. In 2020, she made news statewide for the birth of a second set of triplets – this time, three heifers.

That in itself was a pretty impressive feat.

Next, Sweetie took a year off in 2021. This year, she was huge, bigger than she’d ever been during any of her previous pregnancies.

Ross and Misti Allen own Sweetie. During a preg check with their vet, Ross suspected Sweetie might be carrying triplets again, he said, because she appeared to be so much further along in her pregnancy than the other pregnant females, and she had been bred after they were.

Indeed, she was pregnant with triplets for a third time, birthing three little bulls.

“We had her at the house, keeping a special eye on her because she was enormous. A week ago today (Feb. 18) about midnight she started to go into labor. I stayed with her up until about 3:30 a.m., nothing happened. I woke up Misti and said I was going to need her help.

“In the time it took to get back out there, she’d had two  calves in about 10 minutes. I thought, ‘Well, maybe she’s just having twins.’ She was laying there with her two calves, relaxed, chewing her cud. I went out and checked the rest of the cows and got back about 4:30-5 a.m., she was still laying with her babies, licking them,” he said.

Little did they know, but Sweetie wasn’t done.

“Then, she started pushing again. I decided to check and reached up inside. There was the head of a calf. I got the front legs into position and got the third calf out, a little bull,” Ross said.

Sadly, the last little calf didn’t make it – he was already dead.

Ross said if he had the opportunity to go back and do it all again, he’s not sure he’d do anything differently, as Sweetie appeared to be done.

“I was there with her the whole time. There was no reason to believe anything else was happening. She had the third one an hour-and-a-half later. There was no indication she was going to have a third calf,” he said.

Sweetie has been bred to a different bull each time she’s gotten pregnant. Ross said it has to be something in her genetically causing the multiple births.

“It’s so weird she’s done it three times now. The ones born this year are all little baldly calves, with white tops on their heads. It’s definitely something in her line. She needed to take that year off, I guess, then she jumped back into it with another three,” he said.

The surviving bulls are named after the twin brothers (James and John) of two of Ross’ crew members, Nick and Adam Halvorsen.

“The two bulls are doing fantastic. They’re nice-sized little calves. Sweetie must have dropped 300 pounds after the births. We added it up to 216 pounds of calf weight, not counting the afterbirth and fluids. She was so uncomfortable when she was pregnant, you could hear her groaning from the neighbors’ place,” he laughed.

Ross said for a cow to have triplets once is one in 100,000 chance. For a cow to have same sex triplets is one in 750,000.

“We don’t know what the odds are of a cow having three sets of triplets, with two of those sets being same sex triplets,” Ross mused.

He’s betting it’s pretty wild odds. 



Life is brighter for the Ross family these days, but Sweetie and her prolific uterus is only part of the reason. The Allens lost their family business, A+ Builders, LLC, two years ago in a devastating fire which burned their shop, tools, supplies – in essence, their entire livelihood  outside of the ranch – to the ground.

Nothing was left but twisted, blackened metal smouldering in a molten heap where the family shop had been.

“Somebody up there up above said, ‘You need to move and this is how we’re doing it. Get down there in a bigger, better location. Get things moving.’ It isn’t how I would have done it, but it’s what happened Feb. 20 (2020). We’re doing so much better than we were two years ago,” Ross said.

As Ross began recounting where his family was two years ago to where they are today, he stopped talking from time to time as the emotion washing over him silenced his voice.

After a few moments he was ready to talk again.

“We bought a property from our neighbors and utilized the little shop there. Last year, we built the big shop . . . we’re slowly getting everything built with a lot of help from friends and family.

“Maybe what happened was a little push to move to a better place and get going . . . I still don’t understand. Nobody can describe all of the emotion . . . all of the sadness that happens with a big destructive fire like that . . . something we worked our whole lives for. It’s taken two years to get back. Well, we’re actually further ahead than we’d been two years ago.” 

But, it wasn’t easy, far from it. The grieving process could be all-consuming.

“There was a time we couldn’t get motivated at all . . .” Ross’ voice trailed off, then stopped again as the recollection of the memories, of flames and ash, overwhelmed him. “Even now, we look for a tool . . . oh, that burned up in the fire. You can’t dwell on it. Once we figured out to cope with that (grief), we could move on.”

Ken and Margaret Farley offered Misti and him their little shop to get started back up in, after the fire had obliterated theirs.

“It gave us a place to get working in, to get our people working in, to get our employees paychecks. One day Ken said he might sell the place. We discussed it a bit more. One day, Ken said he would love for us to be the new owners. We bought the property. We built the new shop. It still isn’t big enough. We can’t build enough buildings for all of our customers. Right now we’re building greenhouses and chicken coops,” he said.

In 2020, Ross said his company had to rebuild their own shop and still built 211 buildings they sold. In 2021, he estimated they built somewhere around 500 buildings. They’re on track to surpass that number this year.

“It’s definitely a fast-paced job that keeps us on our toes.”

While no one can understand exactly what the Allen family and their employees went through when they lost their place of business to the fire – unless they’ve been through a similar disaster themselves – so many people have come forward to help, not only friends and family, but community members and even strangers.

Two years ago, Ross and Misti were worried about how they would keep their six employees working and receiving paychecks.

“I don’t have the words to describe coming away from a disaster . . . how much we have  grown as family, as friends, as employees. We HAD to stick together. We did everything we could to keep our guys around,” he emphasized.

“Some of the guys that were with us then are still with us. Nobody knew what was going to happen. We couldn’t have kept going without them. We have received so much support from our communities in Rolling Hills and Glenrock, from all over, from family in Michigan – they did what they could.

“That was hard. They wanted to come help, but Covid happened and they couldn’t travel. We were right in the middle of this when Covid hit – talk about dramatic and life-changing.

“So many factors of what we were trying to do were affected by Covid. Materials. Covid. Doors, metal companies, lumber, prices skyrocketed, because of Covid. Some way, somehow, we keep on truckin’,” he said.

There was a little bit of unease for awhile earlier this month, as Sweetie’s time to calve – and the anniversary date of the fire – approached. There were too many similarities to events in the Allen family’s lives nearly two years ago for Ross’ comfort, he said.

Their son, Brody, broke his jaw during a wrestling match two years ago. This year, he bruised it. Sweetie gave birth to her second set of triplets two years ago, this year she birthed the third set.

Fortunately, he sighed, that’s where the similarities ended.

“We were very, very nervous for awhile. There were too many things . . . it felt pretty eerie. We were definitely glad when the anniversary date of the fire passed,” he said.

The family is thankful for their communities’ generosity, for folks who loaned them tools, a place to work, a place to rebuild, and for the new friendships they made along the last two years, Ross said.

“We’re glad for where we are.

“Business is good. 

“Family is great.

“We’re busy with wrestling season and calving.

“That’s how it’s supposed to be this time of year.”

Now, the family is waiting on Sweetie’s heifers from two years ago to calve.

“The triplet heifers from last time are all pregnant and due any day. We’re curious if they’ll have any (triplets),” he said. “If there’s a handbook for delivering triplets, I’d like to see it.”


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