Joe Maher’s Friesian cow – a third-calver sired by PSZ and out of a UPH cow – gave birth to heteropaternal twins on Tuesday (February 26th).
Joe – who is in a three-way partnership with his two uncles - Peter and Tommy – was surprised to find an Angus Bull and a Simmental heifer calf.
The third-calver’s dam also had twins earlier this year on the Roscrea, Co. Offaly-based holding.
Speaking to That’s Farming, Joe Maher – who milks 200 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows - said: “This is the first set of heteropaternal twins we’ve had even though I’ve heard of it happening on other farms.”
The bull will be sold at two-weeks of age but Joe is uncertain of the heifer calf’s future.
“Some farmers are saying she will be fertile while others are saying she won’t be.”
“Maybe she’ll be the lucky one – if she is retained, she will be sold to my father and double-suckled on a suckler cow at home!” The young farmer concluded.
Heteropaternal superfecundation occurs when two or more eggs are fertilisers by two or more males during the same reproductive cycle.
Twinning rates in cattle range from 1%-5%, depending on the breed, with dairy breeds typically having the highest rates, according to the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation.
Research conducted by the ICBF found that around 1% of all twins were HS twins.
Image source: Joe Maher