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Vet. Sci. 2015, 2(3), 131-134;

Twinning in Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cows: Proportion Carried to Term and Calf Sex Ratios

School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Roseworthy Campus, Roseworthy, SA 5371, Australia
The Brambles Veterinary Surgery, Churchdown, GL3 2HE, UK
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Margarethe Hoenig and Duncan C. Ferguson
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 22 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
Full-Text   |   PDF [47 KB, uploaded 7 July 2015]


The purpose of this study was to investigate the proportion of twins carried to term and the sex ratio of twin calves at birth in Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle kept on commercial farms in Devon and Cornwall, England. Ten farms were used in the study. Fifty four cows with twin pregnancies were identified using trans-rectal ultra-sonographic examination between 30 and 70 days of gestation. The farm records were subsequently used to derive the number of calves born. Farm records of 66 additional sets of twin births with the sex of the calves recorded were also identified. Of the 54 cows diagnosed with twin pregnancies, 16 cows (29.6%) aborted or absorbed both fetuses, 11 cows (20.4%) carried one calf to term and 27 cows (50%) carried both calves to term. In the calf sex analysis of the additional 66 sets of twins: 13♂♂ calves (19.7%), 18 ♀♀ calves (27.3%) and 35 ♂♀ calves (53.0%). There was no statistically significant difference from an expected ratio of 1♂♂:2♂♀:1♀♀ (p = 0.61). This study provides bench marks for the expected abortion/absorption rates following the early ultra-sonographic diagnosis of twin pregnancies in comparable populations and supports earlier observations that the expected sex ratio for twinning approximates to1♂♂:2♂♀:1♀♀. View Full-Text
Keywords: dairy; cattle; twinning; sex ratio; abortion dairy; cattle; twinning; sex ratio; abortion
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cockcroft, P.D.; Sorrell, E.J. Twinning in Holstein-Friesian Dairy Cows: Proportion Carried to Term and Calf Sex Ratios. Vet. Sci. 2015, 2, 131-134.

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