A Mayo farmer has claimed that one of his suckler cows has had two calves nearly two weeks apart.
Michael Lynch, who farms near Swinford, told That’s Farming about the rare occurrence involving an Angus-cross-Shorthorn cow.
“I was waiting for the cow in question to calf, so the vet called out three weeks ago. The vet said the cow had another few days to go before she would calf.”
“However, I came down to the yard the next morning and found a small, newborn Simmental heifer calf. She didn’t bag or take to the calf, so I gave him colostrum and started bucket-feeding him.”
“Two weeks later, I noticed that she hadn’t lost condition or weight, but she started to flag. I came down to the farm one morning and saw part of a cleaning.”
“The cow had cleaned in the feed place, so I went to remove it. When I went to do so, I found a white calf lying on top of the feed.”
“She has taken to the calf and I have kept the other one separate. The second calf is white with grey spots running through her and I would say she’s normal-sized. The first calf was born on November 12th and the second one was born on November 25th – nearly two weeks apart.”
The cow was inseminated by Sean Hyland from Bova AI Services and was served to two different AI sires at two different intervals. The first insemination, he explained, was recorded in October 2019, while the second took place in February 2020.
It is not known if the calves are heteropaternal (sired by two different bulls) or if they were conceived at the same time – DNA samples will be analysed, Hyland told this publication.
“I have been suckler farming for over forty years and I have never witnessed this before. In the past, I have had twin calves (born on the same days) and small and weak calves, but this is a first.”
“I am based near the heritage centre and this is definitely one for the history books,” Lynch concluded.
Alison Laredo captured the following footage for The Connaught Telegraph: