Keeping a twin heifer for a replacement

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Hereford2

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Hi is it a good idea to keep a heifer that is a twin to another heifer as a replacement heifer in my herd?
 
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Hereford2

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That's good to hear! She's a Registered Gelvieh Heifer, so I was hoping she'd be ok. I can always have the vet check her to make sure when she is older.
 

farmerjan

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I have kept several twin females over the years as replacements. See a few sets of twins but no more than from single females. Most of our twins come from cows that were born single. Most dairies that have had twin heifers that have kept them, have seen occasional cases where one will milk better than the other, but never had any other comments made.
I have 2 twins, different breedings, dams and sires, both the twins were born dead, and both do a good job of raising their calves. Neither have had twins. My longhorn cow that I have as a "pasture ornament" and raises great calves, had twin black angus x heifers this year and I lost one to a freak cold miserable rain when it got loose since the cow did not want both, in the crap weather. Cow's 3rd lactation, she was a single, last 2 have been singles. I am keeping her twin heifer for a replacement . I think she didn't know what to do with 2....
 

Travlr

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I don't like twins...

I had a really great heifer that I bought from a place that was experimenting with crossbreeding. They had some of the best Santa Gertrudis I've ever seen and they were using the best of other breeds to cross with... and they really knew what they were doing.

I bought several of their heifers and one stood out, a Charolais cross. Bred her Chianina and got a heifer calf. And WOW what a calf. She was the kind of animal that dreams are made of.

That calf got bred by a little Hereford that jumped the fence. I don't know how he managed to do it because the heifer was six feet tall. He must have backed her up to a stump. That calf weaned at 825. The heaviest weaning calf I've ever seen personally.

But... after that the Chi X never had a single calf... she always twinned. We lost about half of them. Some she birthed fine, and some sets had only a single calf survive... and one year she lost both calves. Big, beautiful calves are hard to lose from such a good cow.

Her first set of twins had a single heifer survive and I kept her. That heifer had twins the first time out and refused to feed one of them. The next year both calves were dead.

After a few years of that I swore off twins.
 

faster horses

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I don't like twins...

I had a really great heifer that I bought from a place that was experimenting with crossbreeding. They had some of the best Santa Gertrudis I've ever seen and they were using the best of other breeds to cross with... and they really knew what they were doing.

I bought several of their heifers and one stood out, a Charolais cross. Bred her Chianina and got a heifer calf. And WOW what a calf. She was the kind of animal that dreams are made of.

That calf got bred by a little Hereford that jumped the fence. I don't know how he managed to do it because the heifer was six feet tall. He must have backed her up to a stump. That calf weaned at 825. The heaviest weaning calf I've ever seen personally.

But... after that the Chi X never had a single calf... she always twinned. We lost about half of them. Some she birthed fine, and some sets had only a single calf survive... and one year she lost both calves. Big, beautiful calves are hard to lose from such a good cow.

Her first set of twins had a single heifer survive and I kept her. That heifer had twins the first time out and refused to feed one of them. The next year both calves were dead.

After a few years of that I swore off twins.
We don't care for twins either. It can mean trouble for sure.
 

lithuanian farmer

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Have two cows from a set of twin heifers each. One had her 4th calf this year, another 3rd. All single calves. We get twins from one family line. Once used a bull from our own cow, which herself once had twins and her dam had twins once. Her son's daughters and granddaughters have twins occasionally, but only one set each so far. Some had no twins from that family yet. Other lines very rarely have twins. Not a single set of twins here yet this year and would love to stay at that. Still a couple cows left to calve though.
 

MurraysMutts

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Have two cows from a set of twin heifers each. One had her 4th calf this year, another 3rd. All single calves. We get twins from one family line. Once used a bull from our own cow, which herself once had twins and her dam had twins once. Her son's daughters and granddaughters have twins occasionally, but only one set each so far. Some had no twins from that family yet. Other lines very rarely have twins. Not a single set of twins here yet this year and would love to stay at that. Still a couple cows left to calve though.
I'm curious!

What do your twin calves weigh each?

I know your single birth calves are what I consider large at over 100lbs
Do the twins run large as well?
 

Katpau

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If you are growing your herd and like that heifer, I would not be afraid to keep her. While some cows will twin more often than others, most of the time it's just a one-time thing. I have only once had a cow who was a twin give birth to twins herself. I must admit I have not kept many twins though. I usually pick my replacements from the top half of weaning weights, so twins don't often make the cut.

We usually have at least some twins born each year, but have not had any the last two years. At least none we found. There were cows with smaller calves that I had suspected may have been twins, but nothing showed up. I suppose we may have lost them to predators or perhaps it is related to the extreme drought in the last couple years.

We did have an interesting thing happen with the 2011 cows. I kept 6 heifers as replacements that year. One failed to breed as a heifer and was culled, but all 5 of the others eventually had twins. Those cows were sired by one AI bull and two walking bulls. They were out of 4 different cow lines, so for the most part, they were not closely related to each other. No other year class has had more than one or two cows have twins and the 2 walking bulls never had another daughter birth twins. Is it just a complete coincidence that most of the twins born over a number of years were born to 2011 cows, or was there something more going on? I think something about the weather and forage in the year's from when the 2011 cows were conceived to when they matured had some effect on their eventual fertility.

I looked back at some old records and saw that in March, April and May of 2010 we had 169.8% of our normal rainfall for those months and in 2011, when they would have been yearlings, rain was 158% of normal. We get most of our rainfall in the winter when it is too cold to be of much value. The rains often shut off when it gets warm enough to grow forage, but those years would have been really good grass years. Did that somehow affect the ovaries on the heifers conceived in 2010 resulting in more twins out of those cows? I also noted that in March, April and May of 2021 we only received 21% of our normal rainfall for those months. Perhaps that is why we didn't see a twin this year.
 

Lee VanRoss

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It is the bull that carries the twinning gene.
The U S Meat Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska (I think I'm right or close on that) did a study on Twinning in Beef Cattle
several years ago. I would think the information would still be available and more reliable (albeit less entertaining) than contained
within the forum.
 

Travlr

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If you are growing your herd and like that heifer, I would not be afraid to keep her. While some cows will twin more often than others, most of the time it's just a one-time thing. I have only once had a cow who was a twin give birth to twins herself. I must admit I have not kept many twins though. I usually pick my replacements from the top half of weaning weights, so twins don't often make the cut.

We usually have at least some twins born each year, but have not had any the last two years. At least none we found. There were cows with smaller calves that I had suspected may have been twins, but nothing showed up. I suppose we may have lost them to predators or perhaps it is related to the extreme drought in the last couple years.

We did have an interesting thing happen with the 2011 cows. I kept 6 heifers as replacements that year. One failed to breed as a heifer and was culled, but all 5 of the others eventually had twins. Those cows were sired by one AI bull and two walking bulls. They were out of 4 different cow lines, so for the most part, they were not closely related to each other. No other year class has had more than one or two cows have twins and the 2 walking bulls never had another daughter birth twins. Is it just a complete coincidence that most of the twins born over a number of years were born to 2011 cows, or was there something more going on? I think something about the weather and forage in the year's from when the 2011 cows were conceived to when they matured had some effect on their eventual fertility.

I looked back at some old records and saw that in March, April and May of 2010 we had 169.8% of our normal rainfall for those months and in 2011, when they would have been yearlings, rain was 158% of normal. We get most of our rainfall in the winter when it is too cold to be of much value. The rains often shut off when it gets warm enough to grow forage, but those years would have been really good grass years. Did that somehow affect the ovaries on the heifers conceived in 2010 resulting in more twins out of those cows? I also noted that in March, April and May of 2021 we only received 21% of our normal rainfall for those months. Perhaps that is why we didn't see a twin this year.
Did you have a higher percentage of heifer calves in the years with high rain totals?
 

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