Tricky Twin Mothering ?

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Stocker Steve

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I sometimes see reasonable sized twins running with Mom in the pasture for two to three days, and then one calf disappears. I assume the missing one was not getting enough and got weak. I had that happen today and I went back to where she had calved - - finding the other twin hiding in the fence line and looking a bit gaunt. He got up and ran after I approached so he was very able to move. But the pair was 3/8 of a mile away with the herd and I really doubt that they are coming back.

What is happening here? Dumb calf? Dumb Mother? Dumb herdsman?
 

WORANCH

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As long as she has one calf most cows won't look for the other twin. I just pull one calf off and sell it or graft it on a nurse cow. Out of 4 sets of twins this year I only have 3 live calves ..I Hate Twins.
 

Nesikep

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I keep them locked up together for as long as I can.. first in a corral for a week or so, then in a small paddock for a while.. they have to be good and strong, and momma needs to learn to count to two before they get turned out.

I had a set of twins this year, momma took them just fine, and I have a pic with a 3rd calf stealing milk.. she had lots to go around.. Another cow adopted her orphaned brother, and also had a 3rd stealing milk.. Her own calf was the youngest and seems to have the short end of the stick, but all things considered it's going well
 

wbvs58

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I keep all 3 confined until both calves are actively chasing down the mother for a feed. If you wait for her to go back to 1 calf it won't happen in most situations.

Ken
 

bball

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I just chock it up to "nature taking it's course". Every cow I have ever left both twins on breeds back late or comes up open, loses condition, and i end up with 2 mediocre calves instead of one dandy calf. I dont care for any of those situations. Had 2 sets this year, and the 11 year old boy down the road ended up receiving 2 bottle calves and a bag of milk replacer free of charge. He's happy and so am I.
Can't fight nature. If she wants to leave one behind, that'd be my sign.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Yes, as I mentioned in another post. I leave them locked up for a few days - until she can count to two. But, even then, if one is smaller or just not as aggressive, the other one can/will push them out of the way & gobble up as much milk as possible, or just wear the weaker one out so they give up. Some cows spit them out, mother them up & never have a problem. Last year a dam raised her embryo twins, and we had a hard time picking between them & one ended up in the show string, so they grew just fine.
I Hate TWINS. Many times they are tangled up/mal-presented; cow is thin, cow has hard time breeding back timely, can end up with dinky calves. HATE THEM
 

JMJ Farms

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bball":sw83rnbv said:
Every cow I have ever left both twins on breeds back late or comes up open, loses condition, and i end up with 2 mediocre calves instead of one dandy calf.

Always been my experience as well. Suit me if I never have another set of twins. I will take one good one all day.
 
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Stocker Steve

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I try to calve on pasture so penning is not a great option. Currently they are across a creek at flood stage so that is that.

Thanks for the feedback. I can hear the loner calf crying this morning. I think I need to be more realistic and just grab one ASAP.
 

TCRanch

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Only had twins once. Ironically the cow's name was Satan. Initially claimed both and after 3 days left one to die. We searched forever for that calf, finally found it after 3 more days and amazingly it was alive. Caught Satan & the other calf, hauled to the barn & tried to reunite with her abandoned twin. That big she-beast picked up her calf & threw it against the wall, trying to kill it. So I ended up with a bottle calf (who had her 4th calf this year) and a year later Satan ended up with lymphoma. Karma's a bytch ;-)
 

JMJ Farms

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TCRanch":3odfl4kb said:
Caught Satan & the other calf, hauled to the barn & tried to reunite with her abandoned twin. That big she-beast picked up her calf & threw it against the wall, trying to kill it. So I ended up with a bottle calf.

A wooden fence post across the head a few times will generally solve that problem but you would still LIKELY had two below average calves. You done the right thing IMO.
 
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Stocker Steve

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Moved the herd to a paddock next to the calf. He came up and was going from cow to cow looking for breakfast. As a small late calf I doubt that would work out. He is penned in the barn now and Sue is giving him a bottle.
 
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Stocker Steve

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Nesikep":3rwdvgj3 said:
I keep them locked up together for as long as I can.. first in a corral for a week or so, then in a small paddock for a while.. they have to be good and strong, and momma needs to learn to count to two before they get turned out.

I have had grafted pairs that did not stick after being penned a week. Is there a reasonable time to bond, or are some cows just not maternal?
 

Nesikep

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Some just can't fathom 2 calves, do just fine with one.. So momma actively doesn't want him? Unless you have the facilities to pen them up, yes, grab him up and give him a bottle, then figure out what to do with him.

We've had trouble with twins as well.. One year we had 3 sets back to back, one aborted at about 7-8 months, one the cow was dead the day after, who knows why, and the 3rd set momma only wanted one.. Cow that aborted took one, and we gave the orphaned set to a neighbor..
In my last 4 sets, 2 of them went perfectly, one had a malpresented, dead one, one momma couldn't count to two.
Two small calves are worth more than one big one.. if the cow can raise two I'm going to have her do that.
 

JMJ Farms

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Nesikep":lpp3usdo said:
Two small calves are worth more than one big one.. if the cow can raise two I'm going to have her do that.

I agree with 2 calves usually being worth more than one. The problem is with Mama breeding back on time for me. Don’t know why, maybe lack of adequate nutrition, but in my experience if she has twins and she’s in the spring calving herd then she will not calve for me until the following fall. I just move her to the fall calving herd but I’d rather not have twins.
 

Silver

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I'm not an expert, but we did have 14 sets of twins this year. Of which, 21 calves were alive and healthy. In the case of live full sets with the exception of one we pulled one live calf off, got started on the bottle and sold immediately for anywhere from $400 to $500 each online or grafted onto a new mom. That was the smart move. As calving season was winding down I didn't do this with what turned out to be the last set of twins. Instead I left both on the mother (who has worlds of milk), and kept them together in a small pen for a couple of weeks. Then I turned her into a few acres with her calves for another couple of weeks. Things were good. So decided to turn them out with the bunch in a few hundred acres, and it still went well. When the time came to move the herd to big pasture (lots of forest, a couple hundred acres of tame pasture) it didn't take long for one of the twins to get separated. The thing is I should have known better, I've tried this many times over the years and seldom does it work for me. Once in awhile but not often enough to continue to play the odds. Next time......
 
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Stocker Steve

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Twins mother spent most of the day trying to steal an additional calf... Apparently she can count but the pulled calf was not keeping up. She settled down and mothered up with the remaining twin tonight.

Just fed the pulled calf. Seems much happier after being fed twice today. I think he would have ended up as eagle food out in the pasture.
 

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