A calf born three weeks after his brother in the Cariboo has been named Miracle by his owners.
“I spoke with local ranchers and they said it is very rare,” said Katya Potekhina who lives with her husband and son at their hobby farm near 150 Mile House.
Potekhina said Jewel, the mom of the calves, delivered her first calf on June 16.
She and her husband discovered it a few days after it was born and she started bottle feeding it.
The calf, whom they named Diesel, seemed to be thriving, other than being treated for an eye infection, so she was surprised when Diesel died 10 days later.
Similar to humans, cows are pregnant for around nine months and 10 days on average and Potekhina believes the first calf went to full term.
“He was absolutely formed well. We estimate we found him on day three.”
On July 7, Potekhina came into the field and noticed afterbirth stuck to Jewel’s backside.
“I was wondering if she had inflammation or something and then when I looked on the ground I saw she’d had another baby.”
Jewel is a Belted Galloway/Angus cross.
She has a white stripe around her middle, common for the Belted Galloway cattle.
“Some people call them Oreo or Panda cows,” Potekhina said.
BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon said the Potekhinas’ experience is not overly common.
“What happens often is the cow will have them both at the same time but one of them will be premature.”
Jewel would have gone into another cycle 21 days apart from the first one and gone into heat again, Boon explained.
She would have been bred a second time by a different bull, Boon said, adding the calves would have been in two different sacs and shared the womb.
Years ago he owned a cow that delivered triplets.
“She had released three eggs. One bull had got two of the eggs and another bull had gotten the other egg. There are anomalies that happen out there.”
Boon has also heard about a calf born two or three months after another one from the same cow.
“A veterinarian could probably tell you the science. I’m telling you as the guy who was asking ‘how does this happen?’ the first time it did to me. It is kind of cool.”
The Potekhinas are originally from Ukraine and purchased the farm two years ago. While they were already avid beekeepers at their previous home on Fox Mountain in Williams Lake, they have only started raising cattle since purchasing the farm. Their six cows all had male calves this season.