Acta Vet. Brno 2012, 81: 347-352

Reproduction performance of cows with single, twin and triplet calves

Anna Sawa, Mariusz Bogucki, Sylwia Krężel-Czopek

University of Technology and Life Sciences, Department of Cattle Breeding, Bydgoszcz, Poland

The aim of this study was to analyse data on 74,081 calvings, subsequent lactation performance and culling of 23,588 Black-and-White cows improved with Holstein-Friesians. The animals represented the active population in Pomerania and Kujavia, first calved in 2000 and 2001, and were culled before the end of 2008. Frequency of calvings, which averaged 1.5% for twin births and just 0.02% for triplet births, increased with age of cow and also with increasing milk yield in the preceding lactation. Performance results showed that mothers of twins were superior to mothers of single calves in terms of milk yield (1.3 kg milk/day milking). Despite the greater perinatal mortality of twins and triplets, multiple pregnancies gave rise to a greater number of calves compared to single pregnancies. However, multiple pregnancies were accompanied by adverse effects such as increased proportion of complications requiring human assistance, mechanical assistance and veterinary intervention (1.2 × more). Fertility of the cows deteriorated after multiple pregnancies, with particularly unfavourable indicators of fertility found for triplet births, decreased chance of survival to the next calving, and increased culling rates in cows, especially due to udder diseases, infertility, reproductive diseases, old age, metabolic and gastrointestinal diseases, and locomotor system diseases. It was found that the increasing milk yield was paralleled by the increasing proportion of multiple pregnancies. This has highlighted the need for early and reliable diagnosis and management of twin pregnancies, which is supposed to facilitate parturition and ensure survival of calves.


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