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Tackling twin births - managing beef herds' double delights

Tackling twin births - managing beef herds' double delights


By Scout Nelson

Twin births in beef herds necessitate careful management to ensure the health and well-being of both calves and the dam. Kansas State University's Beef Cattle Institute provides invaluable insights into effectively handling this scenario.

Eduarda Bortoluzzi, K-State's assistant professor of animal welfare, emphasizes the prevalence of twin births in beef herds, urging close monitoring within the crucial first 24 hours. This alertness is essential to ensure that both calves receive adequate colostrum from the mother, which is crucial for their immunity and early development.

Bob Larson, a K-State veterinarian, underscores the primary concern with twin births: the risk of inadequate nutrition for one or both calves. To address this, Larson suggests separating the cow and her twins from the rest of the herd for intensive monitoring. This isolation allows producers to closely observe the calves' feeding behavior and intervene if necessary.

In cases where the cow is unable to provide sufficient milk or doesn't accept both calves, Larson recommends alternative feeding methods. This may involve grafting one calf onto another cow that has recently lost her calf or resorting to bottle-feeding one of the twins.

Larson also highlights the common discrepancy in size and vigor between twin calves, emphasizing the need for individualized care. While one calf may be robust and active, the other may lag in energy and growth. Producers must ensure that both calves are thriving by closely monitoring their behavior and development.

Bortoluzzi suggests a practical solution for monitoring twins by grouping cows with twins alongside first-calf heifers. This arrangement simplifies observation and allows producers to ensure that both calves are eating well and maintaining good health.

Managing twin births in beef herds requires proactive monitoring, prompt intervention when necessary, and tailored care to ensure the health and vitality of both calves and the dam. The expertise provided by Kansas State University offers invaluable guidance for producers facing this unique challenge in their operations.

Photo Credit -istock-123ducu

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Categories: Kansas, Livestock, Beef Cattle

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