Most ranchers hear that word and shudder, but I just love twins. Maybe I am still too young and naïve, but there is something so amazing to me about twins! Yes, they are a pain in the butt and cause extra work during calving season, a time where extra work is not needed, but I can’t help it I love them. Every year it’s different 2 years ago we had 3 sets of twins, last year we had one set and this year so far we’ve only had one set as well. This set was born one afternoon when I was at the ranch all by myself (I swear all disasters happen when I am by myself). I was doing some chores around the barn yard and looked down to the bottom field where all our pregnant cows are and noticed that a cow had calved, I grabbed the calf sled (refer to my last blog post about the calf sled) because it was quite cold that day and still a lot of snow on the ground. I walked down and pulled the one calf up to the barn no problem and resumed doing some other chores. Not an hour later I looked down at the field again and noticed another cow had calved, so I grabbed the sleigh and went to pull up the latest calf. I got down there and noticed this calf was tiny (one clue it might be twins), but I put her in the calf sled to tow her up to the barn. I figured if it was twins, the mom will follow and she can have the second calf in the dry barn. WRONG! That is not what happened at all. I put the calf in the sled and the cow who is older, this was her 4 calf behaved like a heifer, she did not follow the sled and just walked away and layed down. At this point I was positive she was having twins, so I left the first calf in the sled, I thought at least she was up off of the snowy ground and let the mom have the second calf. This plan was going well until I noticed that the second calf was being born right in the amniotic sac. This is scary because the thick skin is covering the calf’s nose and it could suffocate. I decided to sneak up behind the cow and try to break the skin, well the skin was too tough and I couldn’t break it and on top of that I scared the cow, so she stopped pushing and got up. I was pretty nervous at this point that I had messed up and I was worried that the second twin wasn’t going to be alive. I was worried because she had already had the first one quite awhile ago and there is the possibility of umbilical cord breaking on the second twin. I just wanted her to lay down and HAVE THE SECOND BABY. Of course, that is not what happened she just kept wandering around, not pushing meanwhile the second calf’s 2 front legs and nose was out, but still covered in that skin. I am going into definite panic mode at this point, so I decided to run up to our calving shack and grab a rope, I figured my only option at this point was to rope her, dally her to a fence post and pull this poor little guy. So that’s what I ended up doing, of course it took me quite a few shots with the rope, but I finally got her and got the calf out and he was alive! YAY! So that ended up going well thanks goodness. However, now is the part where Rancher’s don’t like twins because there mom’s generally don’t have enough milk to raise two calves. There are two options, you can possibly draft the twin onto another cow who has recently lost her calf or bottle feed both of them. We have been bottle feeding the twins twice a day. Currently, both twins are doing great and we have recently quit bottle feeding them because we are feeding their mom separately really good feed and grain, so she is milking really well and producing enough to feed both calves.
I tried to take a video of bottle feeding the twins, but apparently it didn’t work, because it was so funny they would get so excited for their bottle and when one calf was sucking the bottle the other would try and push them off of it and latch on themselves.