Cow decides two head better than one
this document web posted: Wednesday May 25, 2005 20050526p59
By Barbara Duckworth
STRATHMORE, Alta. - Randy Kralik thought he was finished calving three months ago and then he found a newborn wandering the barn yard in the first week of May.
The strange thing was that the calf was following a cow that already had a three-month-old youngster born in February.
He speculated the calf belonged to another cow and that this one had stolen the baby. A pregnancy check on the other cow revealed it was due to calve this summer.
The only explanation was that the nine-year-old Simmental had dropped a second calf, especially when he noticed it showed signs of having recently delivered.
"Maybe she is a cow who doesn't believe in stopping at one," Kralik said. "To me, this is a miracle."
While some veterinarians did not believe him, another suggested the cow must have come back into heat and was rebred while already pregnant.
Both calves were 90 pounds at birth but the oldest is now nearly 300 lb.
The threesome is wandering the pasture near Kralik's Strathmore area home. The cow tends to push away the older, bigger calf while letting the new one nurse. With plenty of new grass available, the older calf appears to be doing well.
This situation is known as super-fetation and occurs when a pregnant female is mated during pregnancy so that two or more embryos result from different ovulation cycles and conception times. It is often viewed with skepticism but is known to occur on rare occasions.
According to a 2002 dissertation written by University of Louisiana doctoral candidate Joel Carter, superfetation can be difficult to identify with certainty.
It is different from twinning, where two or more siblings result during a single ovulation.
It has been observed in many different livestock species as well as cats, rats and hares. It has been known to happen with natural breeding, artificial insemination and embryo transfer, when technicians thought a cow was returning to heat and was rebred.
"Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now, blue-green meat - THAT'S bad for you!"