Nope, not those cream-filled pastries with infinite shelf-life. I’m talking twins! Earlier this spring, I wrote about the uncommonly large number of twins that were born during calving season. A couple of sets would be fairly normal, but this year, we had 6 sets. Three of the six sets were separated and grafted onto foster cows whose calves had died – in one instance, this resulted in a grandparent raising a grandchild.
The other three sets are still nursing their mothers and are down at my grandparents’ place in their own pasture, with their very own herd bull. His name is Rigor, but his story probably deserves its own post, so we’ll save that for another day.
Here are Ace and Deuce and their mother. She’s 8 years old. They were the first set of twins born this calving season.
Here are Miney and Moe and their mother. She’s 3 years old. They were born about 5 calves later than the twins I named Eenie and Meenie. I couldn’t in good conscience name them anything but Miney and Moe.
Here are Bonnie and Clyde and their mother. She’s 5 years old. I artificially inseminated this cow, and this was the result. I had nothing to do with the cow fertility part of it, though.
Ace, Deuce, Miney and Moe are all steer calves. Bonnie is a heifer born twin to Clyde, who was a bull before he became a steer. When a heifer is born twin to a bull, she is called a “freemartin” and is generally sterile. In cattle, twins share blood vessels in the placenta, so blood from the two fetuses are mixed. The influence of testosterone from the male twin impairs the female’s reproductive development, causing sterility. This is not the case in other farm animals, as their placental system is different from cattle.
Speaking of freemartins, here is Olive, one-half of Otis-and-Olive. She is doing well on her foster mother, don’t you think?
This is the last week of limited travel for me – the Asphalt Cowgirl is busting back out next week, and for the next few months it will be wild! Look for updates from the road!
The Asphalt Cowgirl
“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux