|#937 pair. The calf was giving me the "come a little closer and |
I'll show you how fast I can run" look as I was tring to get a nice
They found a cow that clearly looked like she had calved earlier that day. After putting them in the pen together for a little while the cow seemed to remember that she had indeed given birth and let calf nurse and started showing signs that she loved the little heifer. WooHoo problems solved, no harm done and we got to practice our cow psychology. After a few days we moved the family into the south creek pasture with a few other pairs and everybody seem to be doing just fine. About 12 days later we were checking that pasture and noticed that the cow was consuming some fresh cleanings. "Cleanings" are the after birth or placenta, often cows will eat the placenta because it is full of nutrients and although I have not and will not taste it must not be to bad. We watched her for a few minutes scratching our heads as we were sure that she had cleaned (expelled the placenta after birth) and we wouldn't have turned her back out without helping her clean if needed. Not to mention these were fresh as from a cow that had calved within the last 12 hours not 12 days earlier. Her calf was sleeping beside her and everything else seemed to be ok. So we chalked it up to the strange and bizarre things mother nature throws at us from time to time. I think she likes to see if we are paying attention. Side note - this pasture that 937 is in only has cows in it that have already calved no expecting mothers allowed. This is where things really get strange.... 3 days after the cleaning incident I went out to check on the 1st calf heifers and at the gate going out of that pen into the pasture is an un-marked (not tagged) mystery calf. Looking at the calf she looked to be a couple days old and extremely hungry, I opened the gate and we put her on the 4-wheeler and headed for the barn. We gave her a bottle of milk and as I was ruminating over the chain of events that had transpired with 937 over the past almost 2 weeks things started to make a little since... strange since but since... If she was carring 2 calves each in their own placenta her hormones would tell her that she was still pregnant after having the first calf. Reason why she needed a little reminder about mother hood. If she gave birth 3 days earlier to the 2nd calf that would explain why we seen her with fresh cleanings and would explain the new calf that was about 2-3 days old. It all sounded a whole lot of bizarre, but biologically I could make some since out of the situation.
After doing a little research. I did confirm that my theory was probably correct. Cows can give birth to twins (may not be called twins, technical aspect) on different days. Normally the cow will only ovulate from 1 ovary at a time, but if she had ovulated from both at the same time or released 2 eggs from the same ovulation (same ovary) then 2 fetuses could be resulted which could attach with 1 in each uterine horn.
|A-Cat, B-Cow, C-Horse, D-Human|
The round "balls" are the ovaries, and they are at the end of the
uterine horns. Animals that are more prone to having multiple births or
litters have longer horns to accommodate to extra fetus'.
Cows have 2 uterine horns and generally (normally) the fetus will attach in 1 horn and the other is empty till the next year when it gets a chance to be the baby calf home. If there were 1 fetus in each horn they would each have their own placenta and the first calf can be born without harming the placenta of the 2nd calf. Cows will produce milk in late gestation which explains why the 1st calf remained healthy and was growing normally. I think my chances of getting bit by a shark are greater than witnessing a cow giving birth to 2 calves 12 days apart and I don't live any where near the ocean. This will be one of those once in a lifetime occurrences that we will get to talk about for a while. We are happy and thankful that all 3 of them are healthy and thriving because I know the survival rate of twins is drastically less than single calf births and I can speculate that the survival rate of multiple births on different days is even less than "normal" twins.
|The 1st twin taking a afternoon nap in the shade.|
Still pretty sure on our theory of what happened as we are down to the last couple of cows to calve and they are very much pregnant. Which means that another cow didn't calve and the calf some how wander through the 2 fences that separated our pregnant cows from the cows that already calved.
|The 2nd twin (now know as #735) is hanging out by her biological mother. Her adopted |
mother was close by resting in the afternoon shade as well.