May morning after rain

May morning after rain

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Double Trouble?

Two for the price of one?
Double the fun?
Double trouble?

Even though you'd think that twins would be a good thing, it isn't always in the calving world. Sometimes, the cow doesn't have enough milk for two babies. She may not claim both offspring. Also, if one calf is a boy and one is a girl, the female is more likely to be infertile, a condition called "freemartinism."

Cow R47 gave birth to two bouncing boys.  (Forgive the poor photo at the top of this post. Randy got in a hurry to give eartags to the calves. What was he thinking? Work got in the way of my photo op - ha!)

The calf who was up and around with its mom ended up with tag No. 741.
The mom moved it away from we pesky humans.
Its brother, No. 740, stayed behind, hunkered down into the dried grasses.
Then, the next day, we had a heifer - No. 556 - lose a calf.
So Randy brought one of the twins - No. 740 - to the calving shed to try to get the heifer to claim the calf. Even though the white-faced heifer had been bawling for its lost calf, it didn't claim the new baby right away.
However, after a couple of days, it appeared that the heifer and the twin calf were getting along. Little 740 calf looked healthy, so Randy turned them both out with the other heifers and their offspring.
Once out of the pen, the mama wasn't as generous. It was back to pushing the baby away when it tried to nurse. But another mama allowed the baby to steal a drink while its baby stood patiently aside. (See photo below.)
That earned heifer No. 556 another trip to a smaller pen to see if she would have "an attitude adjustment." Sometimes it works for toddlers and teenagers, right?!

The conclusion?  No. 556 is not going to win the Mother of the Year Award. But several other heifers seem to have "adopted" the calf and don't mind sharing the wealth - in this case, the mother's milk - with an interloper.

You've heard the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." In this case, it's taking a corral of heifers to raise No. 740. 


  1. Double trouble is what we usually say here with dairy cows. It seems like they often don't clean, and get off to a rough start. I'm glad to hear that the other heifers are helping out! Way to go corral! :)

    1. I was surprised by that, but Randy says it sometimes happens with heifers.

  2. So glad you have a happy ending. Just love the photos.

    1. Thanks, Helen. I love taking photos of baby calves, but sometimes they are as difficult to get as ones of busy granddaughters!