Three's company for a new mother as she gave birth to not one, not two - but three calves.

The triplets were born on a beef and sheep farm near Axminster on June 26.

The Simmental cross was scanned and owner Ann was told to expect a single calf - but she kept growing larger and larger.

Ann said as it seemed that she was coming near to birth, her partner Derek stayed up with her until 2.30am that Sunday morning.

Nothing happened, so Ann checked her again at 6.30am, finding all well.

Ann went on to feed the others and checked the cow again three hours later - and had the surprise of her life.

She said: "Triplets is so rare! She was getting so big but the vet had confirmed a single calf, so I thought we're going to have to watch her, thinking she may need a caesarian.

"When I checked on her again later that morning I found one, then two then three calves.

"She did it all on her own.

"When I told Derek that she had calved he asked 'what did she have'? meaning male or female. I said 'triplets!'"

When she told the vet about the surprise, he said he was on his way to take photos, saying it was extraordinarily rare.

What's more, all three are heifers, shortening the odds even further.

Following the birth, the mother, unsurprisingly, was dehydrated and had a high temperature - likely from shock. She has recovered well now.

The triplets are a handful, Ann said: "The calves are really cheeky, they're into everything and are like three little children."

The new mother is a cross from a Simmental bull and a Friesian dam. This was her third calving.