Twinning in buffaloes is a one-in-a million chance, according to animal scientists.
Would you believe that this rare phenomenon recently occurred twice in Arayat, Pampanga when two sets of twin calves were born in the same month this year?
The Philippine Carabao Center at Central Luzon State University (PCC at CLSU) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija reported that the first set of twins calves was born on January 2, the other on January 31 from female carabaos owned by farmers Erwin Hasip of Barangay Tabwan and Eduardo Tungol of Barangay Sitio Paroba, both in Arayat town, respectively.
Hasip’s carabao is of the native breed while that of Tungol, a crossbred.
Abraham Yangga, a PCC-trained artificial insemination (AI) technician serving Arayat, undertook AI services on the two animals. From the time he started doing AI services on December 16, 2012 up to December 15 of last year, his calf drop record was 40, and the birth of the two set of twins surprised him the most.
“Hopefully, there will be other sets of twins calves that will be born from the carabaos I provide AI services”, the smiling Yangga said.
He added that he was not aware that the two mother-carabaos were carrying sets of twins.
The farmers-owners were equally elated about the bonanza that came their way.
“I was really glad that my native carabao gave birth to a twin. Some 45 minutes of the birth of the first calf, my nephew called me and said that another calf was coming out,” Hasip recalled.
He added that their neighbors were also happy about the birth of the twin calves. They said that it was the first time they had seen a carabao give birth to twin calves.
Tungol shared the happiness of Hasip.
“I’m really glad that my carabao also gave birth to twin calves. I was about to go to my corn and peanut farm when my brother informed me that my crossbred carabao was about to give birth,” he said.
His crossbred buffalo gave birth to the twins 30 minutes apart of each other. They are of different sexes.
“My neighbors, including my family, went to the barn when they learned of the event. They were equally happy looking at the calves,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Edwin C. Atabay, PCC at CLSU center director, explained that these twinnings in Pampanga might have been caused by three scenarios for both twin calves.
“For Hasip’s twin calves that are both males, there are two reasons that might accord,” said Dr. Atabay.
First, during ovulation, both ovaries of the mother carabao of the twin male calves has released two oocytes (one oocyte per ovary) that were both fertilized with Y bearing spermatozoa from the semen of the male carabao utilized by the AI technician.
Second, during early embryonic development, although the occurrence is very rare, the embryo might have accidentally split into two embryos and later on developed until the birth of the two identical male calves.
On the other hand, for the Tunggol twin carabaos, Dr. Atabay explained that during ovulation, Tunggol’s mother carabao might have also released two oocytes but is fertilized with two different spermatozoa (X and Y bearing spermatozoa) from the semen used during the artificial insemination procedure.
He underscored that in this scenario, the twin is of freemartin case wherein the female calf is 99% sterile and the male calf is fertile.