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Twins

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3Rancher

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Wanted to ask you guys on here a question. I had a set of twins, one was a bull, and one was a heifer. My question is is that heifer able to be bred? I thought I heard that if you had a set of twins and if one was a bull and one a heifer the heifer is sterile. Thanks
 

Traveler

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True. Severely underdeveloped to basically nonexistent reproductive tract, they say at least 90 percent of the time, but we've never knowingly kept one. We've had some that the urine flow went upward, and can think of maybe a couple that developed a chronic infection.
 

DejaVu

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Kind of long read, but interesting about freemartins:
Lillie {46j 47, 48) 4^y 50, 51), who examined a large number of twin
fetuses in a packing house, offered a theory explaining the occurrence
of the freemartin in cattle which has been rather widely accepted.
More than 96 percent of the bovine twins he examined were monochorial
(inclosed in a common placenta) ; the two fetuses usually had
developed in such a way that the blood vessels of the two circulations
were joined and a constant interchange of blood had taken place
between the two developing fetuses. If both fetuses were male or
both were female neither was detrimentally affected by this common
circulation, but if one was male and the other female a sterilization
of the female took place. In some such cases the development of
the female reproductive organs was suppressed, and in extreme cases
certain male organs developed in the twin that was originally female.
He explained the occasional occurrence of fertility in the female of
mixed twins on the theory that, even though monochorial, the vascular
systems of the two fetuses do not necessarily become joined.
Tandler and Keller found that twin cattle fetuses
were inclosed in a common chorion and usually had a joint circulatory
system resulting in typical freemartin genital organs in the female
if the twins were originally of opposite sex. Nevertheless, for purposes
of brevity the foregoing explanation of the cause of the freemartin
will be referred to in the following discussion as Lillie's theory.
The histological studies of Lilhe's specimens by Chapin (4) showed
that the interstitial cells of the testis, the secretion of which supposedly
determines the development of secondary sexual characters, are
produced earlier in fetal life than the corresponding cells of the ovary.
Thus, in the case of vascular fusion in mixed twins the sex hormones
of the male fetus pass into the circulation of the female embryo early
enough to interfere with the development of the mechanism controlling
female secondary sexual characters, and the sex organs of the
female, which are in an indifferent stage, develop toward the male
condition. Chapin attributed the great variation in the degree of
alteration or reversal in the reproductory organs of the freemartin
to differences in the stage at which the interstitial secretions of the
male are introduced into the female embryo, and to the amounts
introduced.
Buyse (3) attributed the extreme modification he found in a 2^-
year-old Brown Swiss freemartin to the fact that it was one of triplets
of which the other two were males. However, Pearl (55) showed that
one male of triplets was capable of sterilizing two feniales. Similar
results were shown by Bissonnette (2), Hutt (38) cited a case of
bovine quadruplets in which one male apparently naodiñed three
females and caused them to become freemartins. Lillie (5i) and
590 Journal of Agricultural Research voi. ei, NO. S
Bissonnette (2) concluded that the amount of hormone does not
determine the degree of sex modification but that it is an ''all-or-none''
reaction as far as freemartin formation is concerned. The extremely
small quantity of the hormone required to transform the female into
a freemartin is particularly noteworthy. Lillie (51) showed that in
one case a male fetus weighing less than 4 gm. had produced male
hormones sufficient to bring about a practical inversion of the ovary
in the female twin.
 
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It is often the case that the heifer will be sterile. However, if you really fall in love with a heifer in this situation and would like to keep her as a breeding heifer you can send a blood sample into one of the DNA labs and they can test to see if she is a Free Martin. Its been a while since I worked in the DNA game (12 years), but we used to offer the test for $25 - $30. It is actually quite interesting to look at the DNA identity profile of a Free Martin as you can see both sets of Alleles or Genes from each twin.
 

George

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Wish you were closer - - - I might be interested in the bull as U of N put out an article stating the heifers resulting from him as a dad will have a 75% chance of twins when bred and I love twins here where the cows have an easy life.
 

Traveler

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George said:
Wish you were closer - - - I might be interested in the bull as U of N put out an article stating the heifers resulting from him as a dad will have a 75% chance of twins when bred and I love twins here where the cows have an easy life.
Different articles state that the male twin of a Freemartin will have smaller testicles and reduced fertility. Maybe the twin of another bull is what you want.
 

mrj

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Interesting. George, are you referring to the twin bull calf, or the sire of the twins? I know there has been research on twins at that place in NE which was under fire from HSUS and others of that stripe for the "abuse" of those poor cows having to have twins and such nonsense.

For us, twins are a mixed blessing, as the less we have to care for, pen up, or otherwise handle new calves, the better. That is the job of the cow! We do watch over the March calving heifers more intensively, but the cows really should do it on their own, unless severe weather interferes, which it shouldn't, but can do, in our May calving preference for cows. Personally, I'd like it to be June, but fear the extremely hot weather we can get then.

mrj
 

George

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mrj said:
Interesting. George, are you referring to the twin bull calf, or the sire of the twins? I know there has been research on twins at that place in NE which was under fire from HSUS and others of that stripe for the "abuse" of those poor cows having to have twins and such nonsense.

For us, twins are a mixed blessing, as the less we have to care for, pen up, or otherwise handle new calves, the better. That is the job of the cow! We do watch over the March calving heifers more intensively, but the cows really should do it on their own, unless severe weather interferes, which it shouldn't, but can do, in our May calving preference for cows. Personally, I'd like it to be June, but fear the extremely hot weather we can get then.

mrj

The twin bull calf - -- I had one bought but before they delivered it walked out on a frozen pond and did not survive.
 

Mike

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Faster horses said:
On the subject of twins.....I feel nutrition plays a large part of twinning.

One part I do remember about a big twinning study at Auburn Univ. was the cows that bore twins had a high PH (acidity) in the uterus at conception. I believe I'm remembering that correctly.

Could possibly have something to do with nutrition.
 

Faster horses

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I know that many times, over many years, there would be a list at the veterinary clinic of people with extra calves for sale. Most were due to twins from our mineral customers....year in and year out. So it was my thought that nutrition played a part in twinning. Not to say the mineral alone had bearing on it, but that the diet the cattle were fed was higher in nutrition, helped by a good mineral.
I do know that some breeds are more susceptible to twins than other breeds.
 

WVGenetics

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pups and bucks said:
How come you don't have Free Martins in sheep?

It is the result of differences in the type of placenta. In sheep, pigs, etc. each fetus has its own placenta with separate connections to the uterus so blood flow is separate. In cattle, when multiples occur they share the same placenta and same blood flow connections to the cow as someone said earlier. What's most interesting is that the default sex is female. Very early in fetal development both sexes will have similar anatomy (precursors to final anatomy) and hormones generated as the result of the presence of the Y chromosome cause differentiation in those early precursors to reproductive tissue in males to create final anatomy. When the placenta is shared, these male hormones also circulate through the female fetus and impact development of the repro tract. I think something like 3-5% of free martins actually develop normally and are fertile. It's easiest (and cheaper than a DNA panel) to sleeve them at about a year and feel for a normal tract. In my experience they usually won't have anything past the cervix.
 

mrj

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Faster horses said:
I know that many times, over many years, there would be a list at the veterinary clinic of people with extra calves for sale. Most were due to twins from our mineral customers....year in and year out. So it was my thought that nutrition played a part in twinning. Not to say the mineral alone had bearing on it, but that the diet the cattle were fed was higher in nutrition, helped by a good mineral.
I do know that some breeds are more susceptible to twins than other breeds.

I wonder if it also stands to reason that some blood lines within the breeds more ?

I have an uncle who had a small cow herd and he had a high rate of twins for many years. I'm guessing he didn't have much change in his herd and probably kept the same bulls for quite a while and likely sold cows only when necessary.

Interesting subject. And no end to 'wonder what if' questions'.

mrj
 

Aaron

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Nutrition (and good fertility) is the reason for twinning. After switching our basic mineral to a high-quality chelated product, my incidence of twins went up 1000%. Used to get a single set once every five to ten years. Now in the last 6 years I get at least 1, if not multiple sets every year. Last year was one set (thankfully), 2014 was 3 or 4. Only measurable change has been the mineral.
 

Brad S

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Marc had, perhaps even may still have a twinning experiment. I know you used to be able to buy twinning bulls and may still be able to.
 

mrj

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Brad, thanks for using the term "Marc". Why I couldn't come up with 'Meat Animal Research Center' is very frustrating!

I'm certain 'twinning' promotion was one of the things HSUS and friends was claiming as animal abuse against MARC.......along with "keeping animals pregnant constantly". The wonder is that all that garbage sells so well with people with excess time and money they want to use to control how other people must live! Rather like 'Leo' (an actor!!!) using luxurious, oil guzzling plains, to fly all over the world exhorting stopping 'big oil' from promoting global warming by selling fuel cheaply! But that is a story for the political bull thread, which I used only as an example of extremists in general on this thread.

Back to the 'twinning' animals.......those research animals are living in great luxury ( when defined as having every need for well being met). Good care, proper nutrition, and lack of stress is absolutely necessary for animals to be as productive as they can be, and surely such care is the best means to that end: the production of two calves, in this case.

mrj
 
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