Rare phenomenon: Twin calves born nine days apart

If twinning in buffaloes is a one-in-a-million chance, twin calves born several days apart from each other, according to animal scientists, could be one-in-a-trillion.

The rare phenomenon happened at the Philippine Carabao Center at Central Luzon State University (PCC-CLSU) farm.

Twin calves were born nine days apart from each other.

The first calf was born on July 25 at six in the morning, reported Dr. Apolinario Salazar, Jr., farm manager of PCC-CLSU.

On the night of the same day, the calf was separated from its mother and was given milk replacer for supplement. The mother, on the other hand, was joined with the other lactating dams in the barn. Lactating and pregnant cows usually have separate barns.

In the wee hours of August 3, around 3:30 a. m., the night shift caretaker, Dominador Gaspar, saw that one of the lactating dams gave birth. Dr. Salazar was informed right away.
When Dr. Salazar went to the farm to confirm the delivery, he was surprised to see that the buffalo that gave birth had the tag number 091494, indicating it was the same animal that gave birth nine days ago.

The phenomenon, which was immediately reported to PCC-CLSU’s center director Dr. Edwin Atabay and PCC executive director Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, drew the same reaction as that of Dr. Salazar’s.

“Pambihira! Ang galing! (It’s rare! That’s great!),” Dr. Cruz declared.

Dr. Salazar, who had been earlier engaged in PCC’s twinning project which employed the use of in-vitro-produced-vitrified embryos, said that this was the first time he saw this kind of occurrence among pregnant buffaloes.

Dr. Atabay, an animal breeding and reproduction expert, added that the twinning might have been caused by the release of two distinct oocytes that were both fertilized at two different mating times.

The dam weighs 500 kg and the calves, both males, are approximately 30 kg.

Dr. Atabay said that the dam was one of the 40 pregnant Brazilian murrah buffaloes that were brought to the farm from the quarantine site. This number was part of the 2,000 head imported from Brazil last year that were infused in small dairy farms in selected areas in Nueva Ecija.

The twin calves were named after their respective birth month, July and August.

The PCC-CLSU team is now doing further investigation as to the exact scientific basis of the phenomenon.