Heifer might be preg w/ twins - Q's

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2/B or not 2/B

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Our shorthorn heifer (bred to our red angus bull) should be due in March and is gigantically pregnant and bulging on the left. It looks alarming actually, and for still being young, she won't even fit in our chute (fits in the alley though). She eats, drinks, sticks with the others, but does look uncomfortable and a little bewildered.

I spoke to our vet yesterday and she wasn't too concerned, said that as long as it's not bloat, it's probably twins. Well, great. I have her cell number and will call her up the second there are any problems. We've assisted with some easy to moderate pulls but never twins and she's a first calf heifer too so I feel very anxious about it. It just doesn't look like she has any room left inside which makes me worry about their positioning.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else has seen this (huge, mishapen looking, preg cows) and how it turned out as well as what I should be watching for, advice, encouragement, etc. We have all our basic supplies on hand, are ready to call for help if needed, and are prepared to raise a calf/calves if necessary. I'm assuming she might calve early too right? Maybe it's three, maybe it's 1 monster calf. Obviously I'm being a worry wart. I'll let you know what happens though and I'll take pictures when it stops raining (hurray, it's been raining for almost a week).

Thanks
 

dun

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A lot of ours are huge now but it's not twins, it's feed. The cows left side is mostly rumen the right side is mostly calf.
 

erudel

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I also have a small framed first time heifer that looks huge. I am hoping it is just good feed. I have the vet on speed dial just in case.
Good luck!
 

Workinonit Farm

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I have one cow, who when she's fairly close, always looks as if she's carrying triplets! Always has one calf. After a bit of time at the hay bale she looks as though she'd pop if poked with a pin. Had a Jersey that looked that way as well, and about that time she'd bag-up real big and look ridiculous. Always had one calf.

Good luck with her, and good on you for being well prepared.

Katherine
 
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2/B or not 2/B

2/B or not 2/B

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Dun, Erudel, and Katherine,

Thank you, you're right, it's probably just one calf combined with all the grass we've been lucky to have lately. Sure looks awful and lumpy though. She's even bulging out on top. If I get a picture I'll post it and you'll see what I mean. I can't wait to see the calves we get from our new bull this year, but getting them safely on the ground is a nail biter for sure since most of the mommas are new.
 

randiliana

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And, on the other hand, we have a cow (#78) known for twins, and big twins at that (85 - 90 lbs) I am pretty sure she is cooking another set for this year, and she is smaller around than a LOT of our other cows. I will get a photo of her tomorrow and post it.

Usually a heifer carrying twins will be in poorer condition than the rest of her herd mates. As well, they can often be weaker, stumbly, may take them a couple of tries to stand up. For that matter, cows can show the same problems.

The reason I am guessing twins again is that she is having trouble getting to her feet, it usually takes her a couple tries. She just started to exhibit this, and she is in pretty good condition (for her). She is showing, and I expect her to calve within about a week, so we will see. She is on our best feed, so now we will just watch and hope she has them before she goes down like she did last time.

Ol' 78 had twins 2 years ago, and we weren't paying much attention to her before hand. But, later in March, I noticed that she seemed to be weak. She would have trouble getting up, and she was kind of wobbly. Of course, by the time we noticed this, it really, was too late to feed her up. She was on the thinner side, but not terribly. So, we got her in, can't remember for sure but about 2 weeks ahead of her due date, which I actually knew. Fed her our best hay and some grain, but she went down on us about 5 days before she was due. So we induced her. She calved (with assistance) a set of bull calves, 68 and 85 lbs respectively. As soon as she had them, she was back up on her feet. She raised one to about 600 lbs, we sold the other. Bred right back and calved pretty much right on a year later, with one calf.

Anyways, size doesn't always mean anything, a big round cow can have a single and a small slenderer cow can have twins....
 

KNERSIE

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I am curious as to how the vet decided its probably twins?

As well, they can often be weaker, stumbly, may take them a couple of tries to stand up.

Randi I hope you are wrong! I have a first calver like that, she's not due till June. Its the first time I've seen this in a 20 month old heifer, I often see it in older heavy bulls and old cows nearing the end of their productive life.

This particular heifer is fat as a tick, though.
 

dun

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KNERSIE":1c88ah35 said:
I am curious as to how the vet decided its probably twins?

As well, they can often be weaker, stumbly, may take them a couple of tries to stand up.

Randi I hope you are wrong! I have a first calver like that, she's not due till June. Its the first time I've seen this in a 20 month old heifer, I often see it in older heavy bulls and old cows nearing the end of their productive life.

This particular heifer is fat as a tick, though.
This time of year all of ours have problems getting up. They'll rock for 5 minutes sometimes before they finally launch to their feet.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Glad you posted that Dun - I see that often. Especially as they get close. Men can't quite relate, but you gotta remember - like a woman - she's carrying a lot of extra weight, and her balance isn't quite the same as when she was "slender" :banana:
2/B - if you see signs of her "starting" labor but doesn't really get pushing, don't let her go long without checking. If she has twins (or 1 large calf) they tend to be out of position - breech, upside down, both coming at same time, etc). If you do the checking & feel feet, make sure they are front & coming right side up. If the calf is unable to really get up into the birth canal due to bad position, she won't start pushing.
 

randiliana

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dun":2u46iwdi said:
KNERSIE":2u46iwdi said:
I am curious as to how the vet decided its probably twins?

As well, they can often be weaker, stumbly, may take them a couple of tries to stand up.

Randi I hope you are wrong! I have a first calver like that, she's not due till June. Its the first time I've seen this in a 20 month old heifer, I often see it in older heavy bulls and old cows nearing the end of their productive life.

This particular heifer is fat as a tick, though.
This time of year all of ours have problems getting up. They'll rock for 5 minutes sometimes before they finally launch to their feet.

Have to say that we rarely have a cow that rocks much unless she is itching her belly. Rocking doesn't really do a lot to help a cow get up, since she gets up on her hind end first, she has to be using her hind end to rock.

What a weak cow will do is not rocking, but she will attempt to push her hind end up, almost get there, and then not have the strength to follow it through. As they get weaker, it will take them more and more tries, and sooner or later she won't be able to get up. Now, it doesn't go that far in all animals. That is one sign I have noticed, that may indicate twins. The big reason for this, is that the calves are taking more energy from the cow than what she can eat. With 2 big calves in her, they take up a lot of energy AND a lot of space, which limits just how much she can eat.

Knersie, I have never seen this with over 3 months to go. At that stage, the calf/ves should just be starting to grow actively. It/they should just be starting to take up more energy, and if she is fat, she should at the very least have enough reserve for a while, before the calf starts to take that big of a toll on her. I'd be more concerned(about twins) if she was in poorer condition and closer to calving.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I generally base whether or not a cow is going to have twins on her BCS. They "generally" (almost typed always - but in the cattle business "always" never holds up!) lose BCS compared to their contemporaries. But, I guess I feed differently. I have never had one get WEAK with twins. The one cow that had twins this year is 10 years old and had a 98# bull & 88# heifer. Is in great BCS. Maybe I'll try to get a pic.
 

redcowsrule33

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My last set of twins were out of a heifer. She was as big as a barn but was always a high capacity girl so I didn't think much of it until she started fussing a month early. Pulled twin bulls, one dead one alive, one of those four feet two heads deals. She was probably average for BCS compared to her contemporaries. She looked a lot smaller after those calves came out. Unfortunately she will be taking a trip soon as she hasn't bred back in 2 seasons since the twins were born (she's a favorite, it's a hobby). Hope for both your sakes she has a healthy single!
 

dun

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Keren":3mdae4tv said:
ours rock a lot too when they go to get up :???:

For them to get up they have to be able to lunge foraward a distance. before they can get their hing legs under them. In tie stall dairys the lunge area in the front of the stall is critical. Same thing with any co, they have to be able to get far enough forward to do the job with the backend
 

smallrancher

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2B, just want to make sure you haven't ruled out the bloat thing. You are sure right? The reason I ask is that you said it's been raining alot and you've been blessed with much grass. Also, when you said they were bulging out the top, that is classic of bloat.
Good Luck!
 

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