A Bonsmara farmer from Setlagole, outside Mahikeng in the North West, was surprised when one of his cows gave birth to twins.
Bosmara cattle have stood the test of time. They do not easily lose condition when seasons change and it is rare for the cows to produce twins.
Mothusi Tlhabanyane farms this special breed. He says it is a blessing for his Bonsmara to have given birth to two healthy little ones.
“For one of the cattle to have two calves, I think is a blessing from God. And I’m so happy to see this thing happening. And maybe in future. It has never ever happened. I grew up in farming, but I’ve never ever seen this thing happening. It was for the first time to see this thing, my cattle having two little calves,” says Tlhabanyane.
Professor Paul Lubout, an associate professor at the North West University’s Animal Sciences department, says there is normally a less than 10% chance of beef cattle producing twins.
“In the different breed, you’ll find that about four and eight percent of animals will produce twins. And I think it goes in most breeds, even in Nguni cattle, and also for cattle that have been selected for it,” says Lubout.
However, he says, twins could soon become more common as some farmers have begun using artificial insemination to satisfy the demand for meat.
“It’s not common practice. We have actually over the years, done it in small stuff, where we actually feed the animals, we call it flush feeding. And in that regard, the dose in, like the boer goat will produce twins. And we select for it. So, it is something that is going to happen in beef cattle, because in the next thirty years we have to double meet production to produce the necessary protein for our population,” says Lubout.
According to Professor Lubout, when the twins are male and female – the female is often infertile.