Hobby farmer cel­e­brates a sur­prise end-of-year gift

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Noel Thomp­son noel.thomp­son@cnbtimes.com.au

SHER­RIE and An­drew Bre­itkopf are the proud own­ers of twin char­bray calves.

The Mun­dub­bera cou­ple thought the twins were a great Christ­mas present for the fam­ily that in­cludes 10-year-old Emma and Ai­dan, aged seven.

Mr Bre­itkopf said he had lost a calf last year and the twins would make up for that loss.

Sher­rie and An­drew are owner-op­er­a­tors of Three Rivers Tourist Park and keep four cows on 12 acres at the back of the prop­erty.

“The heifers are re­ally my hobby and I am al­ways get­ting into trou­ble for spend­ing too much time out the back with them,” Mr Bre­itkopf said.

“They do take up a lot of my time but, when some­thing like this hap­pens, it is all worth it.”

Although twins cer­tainly im­prove the calv­ing per­cent­age, they some­times present more prob­lems than that ad­van­tage is worth.

The cow is likely to ac­cept one of the calves and re­ject the other.

“The cow is a good mother and she has been very close with both calves since they were born,” Mrs Bre­itkopf said.

“Even when I went down to take the photographs, she hunted me out of the pad­dock,” she said.

“The cat­tle in our back­yard have be­come part of the fam­ily and we are so happy that the twins have come along.”

When cows have twins and they are of the op­po­site sex, the fe­male is gen­er­ally in­fer­tile.

This phe­nom­e­non is called “freemar­tin­ism”. Twin births oc­cur in one to seven per­cent of cat­tle de­pend­ing on breed and ge­net­ics. So this is fairly rare. With eight legs, two heads and at least four pos­si­ble ways the two calves might be ly­ing in the womb, it is easy to imag­ine prob­lems oc­cur­ring.

At the mo­ment the twins are do­ing well and they have al­ready started putting on weight.

The sea­son has started off very well in Mun­dub­bera.


MUN­DUB­BERA TWINS: Sher­rie and An­drew Bre­itkopf are the proud own­ers of twin Char­bray calves.

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