Clare cow gives birth to twin calves…of different breeds

A dairy farmer in Co. Clare has expressed his surprise after one of his cows delivered twin calves – fathered by both of his stock bulls.

Sean Culligan explained that his nine-year-old Holstein-Friesian cross cow delivered the surprise at approximately 7:00am this morning, Tuesday, February 19.

He told AgriLand: “I was expecting that she would have twins because she was very heavy this past month or so and was losing condition – so I was watching her particularly close.”

Sean noted that he assisted in the delivery of the calves both of which arrived backwards.

When the second calf was arriving, I noticed the first one was black and white and that the second one was brown.

One of the calves is a Limousin heifer while the other one is a Hereford bull.

Concluding, Culligan noted that both calves and the cow are doing well.

Heteropaternal Twins

According to a report by the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF), the term “heteropaternal twins” refers to twins with different sires.

According to an ICBF study into the occurrence of such twins, twining rates in cattle range from 1% to 5% depending on the breed with dairy breeds typically having the highest rates.

Heteropaternal superfecundation (HS) occurs when two or more eggs are fertilised by two or more males during the same reproductive cycle.

Typically, HS in cattle is reported when the sire’s breed is phenotypically different such as a Hereford and an Angus sire.

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