Not exactly what every dairy farmer hopes for. Perhaps that comes as a surprise? There are numerous reasons why we are less than thrilled with twins...
**they are often born early, and don't thrive
*if they're born early, we're often caught off guard and are unprepared
*the cow, especially if they are born full term, has a harder time delivering and recovering from calving
*if the calves are a bull and a heifer, the heifer is often sterile and of no use to us on the dairy
On a positive note, if they are both heifers and thrive...it's a bonus!
On Tuesday of this week, Jim had planned to go visit his cousin, who lives about an hour away. We thought we had all our I's dotted and our T's crossed before he left, so off he went.
Around lunch time, the phone rang. It was Anne, who lives at the other farm. "You have twins", she said. She was able to tell me that it was a cow (not a new heifer) who had freshened, because she was already wearing a neck strap. That was a good thing.
Eric, Jenna and their cousin who was visiting, piled in the truck with me, and we took the cow trailer to the other farm. The calves, both bulls, were so tiny! First, we put them on the cow trailer. The cow then willingly walked out of the pen and onto the trailer. That was a very good thing.
The calves were born almost 6 weeks early, and we weren't sure how they would do. I think they probably only weighed in at 45 pounds or so. (most holstein calves weigh in between 80-100 lbs at birth) Jenna named them Tom and Jerry...
This is Jerry...
He is surprising us. Even though he is so tiny, he jumps up and totters around the boxpen. He bawls, which is always a good sign, and he has a great sucking reflex. He drinks his mother's milk from a bottle, although I try not to full his tiny belly too full all at once. This is a good thing...
Tom, on the other hand, was simply too small to survive, and he lived only about two hours.
The cow seems to be doing fine. She cleaned on her own, and is eating well. This is the best thing!