WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 03, 2011, 09:04 AM

Cattle ranch near Sharon, ND has over 50 sets of twins

Sharon, ND (WDAY TV) - Spring is a busy time for cattle ranchers. It is long hours of watching and helping calves being born. One ranch in near Sharon, North Dakota has had double the work.

It has been a busy spring for Chris Johnson on his family ranch.

CHRIS JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “There's 4 of us me, my dad my brother and my uncle that have a share in the cattle. We each take a night, we just stay up, sometimes sleep in the barn.”

While calving season is hard work it has been made tougher this spring by the large number of twins they have seen.

CHRIS JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “And out of 400 cows we've had 51 sets of twins.”

And these two are that 51st set of twins, born yesterday. And this is not the first time they've seen a lot of twins…

CHRIS JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “A few years ago we did have 30 some sets of twins. Last year out of 480 cows we had 56 sets of twins.”

The normal birth rate for twins is about 4%. Here at the Johnson Farm they are running at about 14-15% twins. What could be causing this high number of multiple births?

CHRIS JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “I don't know if it's down to genetics now or with the better feed and stuff.”

KEITH JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “Well there's some guys who say they won't let their wives take a drink of water over here. But I don't know that that's got anything to do with it.”

There are still 100 more cows to give birth so the twins and the hard work will continue.

CHRIS JOHNSON - Cattle Rancher: “It's a lot more work but it is nice to have an extra calf. But I guess that's the way it's been. I wouldn't have it any other way.”

Often when twins are born, one of them must be bottle fed, but all of the twins on the Johnson's Ranch are nursing from their mothers.