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Published March 31, 2012, 11:30 AM

Cow in Rugby, ND, Gives Birth to Twins 20 Days Apart

RUGBY, ND (WDAZ-TV) - It's calving season, and one farmer in Rugby says this year is unlike any he's seen before. One of his cows gave birth to twins 20 days apart.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

RUGBY, ND (WDAZ-TV) - It's calving season, and one farmer in Rugby says this year is unlike any he's seen before. One of his cows gave birth to twins 20 days apart.

Richard Hoffart has raised cattle since 1978 and he says he's never seen one of his cows give birth to two calves nearly three weeks apart.

"Took some mineral up there, and then I seen this calf, and I looked at it and thought 'geeze, it was just born,'" Hoffart said.

The calf was born on March 17, 20 days after its mother gave birth to another calf.

"It's exceedingly rare and when it does happen, most of the time the second calf would die in most instances," Rugby veterinarian Dr. Rick Lagasee said.

But both siblings are alive and well. Lagasee with Rugby Veterinary Services says Hoffart's cow is the second in the area this year to give birth a second time after an extended period of time. He says cows have the ability to get pregnant again after conceiving the first calf.

" It's exceedingly uncommon for that to happen," Lagasee said.

There has been an increase in sets of twins born together.

"Around here we usually get around four sets or five sets, but we've have like nine sets of twins this year now already," Hoffart said.

Lagasee has one theory as to why so many twins are being born this year.

"Very good pasture conditions last year. So many cows had the nutrition behind them where they were able to ovulate more than one egg at a time," Lagasee said.

While more is usually better, Hoffart says the abundance of twin calves this year may be too much of a good thing.

"Twins are ok, for when you get a couple of sets. That way of you have a cow that loses a calf, you can take a twin and foster it onto the cow that's lost a calf, you know. But if you start getting lots of twins, they start to get to be a lot of work because you have to bottle feed them two times a day," Hoffart said.

Even when the second calf survives being born weeks after its sibling, it's often much smaller than the first calf.

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