We are getting reports of large numbers of twins currently being born. This makes it even more important to check for a second calf, especially for cows which have had a small calf and are leaner. It is often the second calf which takes longer to be born, has the highest chance of being mis-mothered and hence has the higher risk of dying.
Some twins will be needed to foster onto cows who have lost their calf. Where there are more twins than needed, these can be reared on their mother as a pair. Grazing will provide them with a much cleaner environment compared with artificially rearing them indoors and a very high quality supplementary feed in grazed grass.
Producing twins will have taken more out of the cow so she will be leaner when mating starts. To minimise this, house or graze all cows who produced twins together and feed them extra. This should include cows who have had one of their calves fostered on to another cow.
As a rough guide a minimum of 2 kg of barley per day can easily be justified. This should continue if they can be fed grass before the mating starts.
Basil Lowman, firstname.lastname@example.org
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