beef calves

Asked February 12, 2013, 12:10 PM EST

I have a cow with twin male calves. Is this good or bad? How rare is this?

Van Buren County Michigan

1 Response

I asked one of our beef specialists on campus for some help in answering your question. His reply is below.

Prevalence of twins is somewhat breed-dependent and can range from roughly 1/250 births to 5/100 births. There are essentially equal chances on the sex combinations, so one would expect that one in four sets of twins would be two bulls. Of course there is the freemartin issue when a heifer is a co-twin with a bull. There are no special issues with bull twins.
    General issues with twins:
  • Cow may have difficulty fully discharging placenta (cleaning afterbirth)
  • Cow may have inadequate milk for full growth potential of calves
  • Cow may have a longer postpartum anestrus period (longer before she resumes estrous cycles)
Daniel Buskirk, Ph.D., P.A.S.
Associate Professor/Beef Extension Specialist
Michigan State University | Department of Animal Science
474 S. Shaw Lane | 2265C Anthony Hall | East Lansing, MI 48824
517.432.0400 office | 517.432.0147 fax
Buskirk | MSU Beef Team | MCA/MSU Bull Evaluation Program |
MSU Beef Cow/Calf Teaching & Research Center