A HERD of cows on a Pipers Brook property in the North-East has adopted a hippy, commune vibe to mothering their calves where sets of twins reign supreme.
On Jacqueline Shipton’s property that she farms with husband Michael Keeling, sets of twins make up about a staggering 40 per cent of the calves born on the property.
“Our cows have given birth to 28 calves, but of that there are six sets of twins. All of the twins survived except one calf,” Jaqueline said.
And four cows are yet to give birth.
On the 56ha farm Jacqueline and Michael run shorthorn beef cattle and Corriedale sheep.
“I have never seen this before and don’t know anyone who has had such a high percentage of twins born in their herd,” Jacqueline said.
“Also, a high percentage of the bull calves are totally red with a small splash of white. Redheads reign amongst the boys but not the heifers.
“Another interesting thing is the hippy, commune vibe of the cows.
“It’s real mother’s club scene.
“This breed is a beautiful cow has a great sense of mothering. They are quite content to let calves born to another mother suckle. They are all chilled and relaxed, it’s really lovely.”
Jacqueline works part-time off the farm as a property manager for Roberts Real Estate, and the farm where she has lived for six years is owned by her parents, well-known farm machinery dealers Trevor and Kaye Shipton of TR&KR Shipton at Quoiba.
“I am fifth-generation in the area and I absolutely love being on the farm working with the cattle, especially during calving.
“I told my teacher in Grade 7 that I wanted to be a farmer, but he told me there was no future in farming.
Well, I went ahead with it anyway.”
“We are JBS accredited. I am interested in regenerative agriculture and would like to move in that direction.
“We try to run the farm as sustainably as possible, and animal welfare is at the forefront.”
Jaqueline chose the red bull with a white underbelly bought from shorthorn breeder John Bell’s property Sillwood near Carrick.
“Scientifically the bull has nothing to do with rates of twin births, but I picked the bull so I am laying claim to it.”
The burst of twins started on New Year’s Day, followed by January 3, 4, 25, 26 and the last on February 2