Help Support CattleToday:


Well-known member
Feb 29, 2016
Reaction score
E. KY. OH/WV/KY Tri-state
First and foremost, make sure she accepts both and they both got adequate colostrum. Good luck. My one experience with twins didn't go well.
coyotefur":2w071lbp said:
what happened?
-Cow wouldn't take both
-orphan calf wouldn't suck
-had to tube calf, first experience and likely got some fluid where it shouldn't be
-calf developed pneumonia and eventually had to put it down
Make sure they both get colostrum, nursing the cow, have some shade, and probably have her put up and give her more groceries.
Personally I hate twins. We've had at least a set now for many years. I miss the years we didn't have them. I want my cows to stay in the pasture and raise one nice calf. Not have to get them up and give momma extra groceries to raise 2 average calves. Just seems more complications come with twins, born to early, born dead, one comes backward blocking path for other, cow only claims one, cow has one and moves off to have next one and never goes back to 1st one etc...
If you can get the mom to accept them both, that would be ideal. I have heard that you should wean one about four months or so and get it on feed as mom might not be able to sustain two big calves. We had our first set of twins this year. Mom accepted one and not other. But thankfully, the rejected one is doing great as a bottle baby.
We almost every year have one set of twins. This year had two pairs. Had no problems with accepting both calves, but that usually can be the main issue. Also needs to make sure that cow can raise both. Last year one pretty slim looking cow had twins. After one month one calf got ill, had to separate him, after a couple days he was okay, but his dam was barely standing, so had to give her some extra feed and left only one calf with her. She took way longer to breed back as she was very skinny. Last year she calved in April, this year she still doesn't have a calf.
Always needs to watch if both calves nurses, sometimes cow leaves one calf and walks away with another, so have to bring that one to the mom.
I would put them in a small paddock or yard together at least initially so they can all find each other and know they all belong together. She needs to be fed also, from the photos she does not look too flash condition wise.

you don't NEED to pull one of them off.. though if you can get either or both to accept a supplemental bottle of milk, it sure wouldn't hurt them... Cow definitely needs good feed, she looks a little thin.. but she seems to accept them both...

Twins are cute, but they are often problems with them.. I lost a cow this spring and another cow adopted the orphan on top of her own calf... orphan could definitely do with more milk, but he's doing OK all things considered... Her own calf looks pretty good actually.
I don't particularly care for twins either. Had a pair born last year that mom accepted both but they really drug her down hard. Older cow to begin with. I pulled her off and weaned them early and gave her extra groceries to put some condition back on. Put her back with the bull and figured hopefully she would bounce back over winter. Improved some but not like I hoped. Never saw her come back into heat and no signs of being bred this spring even after everything else had pretty much calved. She was struggling to keep up with the rest of the herd so she made the short list and went up the road. Wish I hadn't fed her all winter. Had another set this year. Of course mom rejected the bull and accepted the heifer (freemartin). My girlfriend adopted the bull calf as a pet. I call it the million dollar steer. :roll: All 4 of them turned out to be dinks in my book. I would have gladly traded for one nice one both times.
Unless the cow shows right away she can feed them and will, I take the smaller twin away or the one they don't except and hold it for grafting. I almost never have a cow go calfless if I keep twins handy. We have around 4 sets a twins every year. I had one cow twin two years in a row, last year and this..
I do not like keeping up with twins and if I do decide to let a cow raise twins, I eartag them so I know i'm not just seeing one calf. Now, if they are marked with white, its easier, but most our calves are black so eartags work best.
What everyone else said! Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's a curse. You never get the follow up story on the adorable photos of twins/triplets/quads posted on Facebook/viral on the 'net. Best of luck and please keep us updated!
A 3-year old is always in the worse BCS on my farm. Worse cow to have a set of live twins. Your cow looks low on BCS. I would think she will struggle to raise the two calves, and as mentioned, will struggle to get re-bred. IF you are going to split a calf off, it is best to do it NOW. Much easier to get a newborn to suck a bottle vs a calf that has sucked mom for a week or so.
Also, many cows that have twins do not clean their afterbirth - although she looks like she has cleaned in the picture. Just something to be aware of.
BTW - I HATE twins! I have at least 1 to 3 every year. This year, I had 3.
1 set Embryo split - twin heifers, both doing great. At 4 months old, split one off for our show string. Obviously, cow was doing a great job for the calf to be good enough to go into show line-up.
1 set of heifer / bull combo. (If you are unaware, "most" heifers born twin to a bull are non-breeders - "freemartin". Cow doing a great job raising both
1 set born dead. Watched cow spit out each 1 - DOA
Calfs are doing great. We are bottle feeding the bull. The heifer didnt want anything to do with the bottle. Cow is gaining weight. She is also recovering from a foot abscess during pregnancy. Girl has had it rough.
coyotefur":2vrt1fuq said:
Calfs are doing great. We are bottle feeding the bull. The heifer didnt want anything to do with the bottle. Cow is gaining weight. She is also recovering from a foot abscess during pregnancy. Girl has had it rough.

Perhaps you know this but in case you don't, the heifer will likely be sterile so don't plan to keep her or sell her as a breeder.
My best twins turned out to be identical (heifers). They looked so similar I had them tested to find out if they were.
Half my twinsets have been successfully reared by their mothers, the other half have been sad lessons in why twins aren't always great - dead, distocia, hard on the cow, etc.

Latest posts