Family excited as cow births twin calves

Published on April 18, 2014

PICTOU – It was just another Tuesday for Reilly MacKinnon when he walked into his family’s barn to do his morning chores before school.

That was until he checked on Hersey, his Hereford, when he realized she was not alone in her stall.

“Reilly came out in the morning to do chores and he came running back to the house saying, ‘Hersey had her baby last night,’” said Reilly’s mother Jeannette.  “We all came out to see calf and she was brand new. She was just born and still wet.”

She said 17-year-old Reilly made sure both mother and baby were doing fine and the calf was able to drink before he returned to the house to get ready for school. She left the house to drive her other two sons, Lauchlin and Cullen, to school only to find out when she returned that their family had grown even more.

“When I came back and got Reilly, he was all showered and dressed and he came out of the barn door and started screaming and running to the car. He was saying, ‘I got to go change my clothing. There another cow coming, she’s having another baby.’ I was in shock.”

To make the day even more special, the twins were born on his brother Lauchlin’s 11th birthday so Reilly has agreed to give one to him in honour of the special event.

According to Internet websites, cows usually only have one calf a year and the chances of having twins is 1:1,000.  It takes nine months for a cow to produce a calf. Reilly said he has heard through the farming world that having female twins makes it even more rare.

“When it’s a boy and girl twin, the female can’t reproduce,” he said.  “These will be fine and able to reproduce. I am going to keep all three and rebreed them.” 

He said he purchased Hersey on a bit of whim two years ago after spotting her at an auction. The price was right so he took her home to the family farm, SunRise Farm, and decided to breed her with his friend’s black angus bull, named Wilfred.  

“This is the second set of twins from the bull that fathered them,” he said. “The bull belongs to Mason O’Brien and one of his cows had a set of twins from this bull and now Hersey had twins.  Mason’s twins were a boy and a girl.”

Reilly said Hersey was a trooper during the entire thing, having no difficulty delivering the babies and is proving to be a good mother by the way she watches out for her calves in the midst of all the extra attention.

“I hope I get twins again,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was for her. She backed into the corner and the baby came right out.”

He said having an extended cow family is exciting and he doesn’t expect the workload to be much more outside regular barn work since Hersey is doing a good job on her own.

“We have to give them some needles,” she said, “but all I have to do is take care of her. She will take care of them.”