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Thread: Twins in Red deer

  1. #1

    Twins in Cervus Elaphus

    An unusual one here. Does anyone have any data on the rate of occurence of twins in red deer? I've always been led to believe that it's very rare, but does anyone have any actual data or figures?

  2. #2

    Twins in Red deer

    Ok, I posted this in the vet section, but reckon this might be more relevant. Basically I'm looking for data, actual numbers, on the prevalence of twins in Cervus Elaphus, and especially in Scottish Red deer. All I can get out of the BDS, and other "expert bodies" is that it's "very rare" but no actual figures. Has anyone seen or heard of any research which might yield data for this?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by matt_hooks View Post
    Ok, I posted this in the vet section, but reckon this might be more relevant. Basically I'm looking for data, actual numbers, on the prevalence of twins in Cervus Elaphus, and especially in Scottish Red deer. All I can get out of the BDS, and other "expert bodies" is that it's "very rare" but no actual figures. Has anyone seen or heard of any research which might yield data for this?
    As already said very rare in the 1980s was part of a study covering several Scottish estates and several thousand deer the study lasted five years when it was abandoned due to not one case of twins being found.

    I know of only two proven cases one was in a tame hind in Scotland the other was a wild hind in Cumbria,the person involved in the case in Cumbria is a member on this site, in fact this subject came up before if you do a search you should find it.

    In a lifetime as a professional stalker I have never found twin foetuses, at one time I did have a hind with two followers, but could never be sure if they were twins or the hind adopted one of them [ this has been known to happen with red deer.]

  4. #4
    I have ground in Central Scotland where at least 3 of the hinds have had twins over the last 4 years. The herd up till last year was in the order of 40 with the occassional grouping up to 100 but it is suspected that our adjacent neighbours have wiped out a large number due to their zero tolerance policy. Will be back up soon and hope to see that the hinds with twins again.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by bogtrotter View Post
    As already said very rare in the 1980s was part of a study covering several Scottish estates and several thousand deer the study lasted five years when it was abandoned due to not one case of twins being found.

    I know of only two proven cases one was in a tame hind in Scotland the other was a wild hind in Cumbria,the person involved in the case in Cumbria is a member on this site, in fact this subject came up before if you do a search you should find it.

    In a lifetime as a professional stalker I have never found twin foetuses, at one time I did have a hind with two followers, but could never be sure if they were twins or the hind adopted one of them [ this has been known to happen with red deer.]
    As stated by `bogtrotter` I was the stalker in Cumbria who found the twin foetus in a wild Red hind which I shot in Cumbria on Kirkstone Pass. I took a picture of the twins resting on a stone, this was posted on here some time ago.
    Over a 50 year period I have shot hundreds of Red hinds and only on that one occasion did I ever find twins.

    The late Lea MacNally of Torridon also bred a set of twins from one of his semi-tame hinds there, this was reported in the Shooting Times.
    I contacted him and sent him a copy of my photo and this was the start of a friendship which continued until his demise.

    Twins are exceedingly rare in Red deer in my experience.

    HWH.

  6. #6
    I would agree with the above comments. We have farmed red deer (and fallow for a while ) for 31 years and in that time have had only one case of twins that were 100 % certain. My wife watched the hind calve from the kitchen window and actually saw the birth of both the twins.
    You have to treat the reports of twins with some skepticism I think because many people assume that a red hind with two calves following in close attendance means twins. Not so. Some will say "but I saw them both suckling at the same time from the same mother." Again, sorry but it means nothing. On another occasion my wife watched a hind calve, begin to lick of the calf, then another hind came running along with water bag protruding. she ran right to where the first calf was; water bag burst all over it, she then lay down and had her calf right beside the first one and licked them both off and suckled the two. Original hind who had run off in the meantime, came back after 30 mins, walked straight to where she knew she had left her calf, sniffed them both and could not recognise hers. So she dried up and the other reared the pair successfully. Without the good fortune to have been in the right place at the right time one could so easily have jumped to the wrong conclusion.

    Apologies to Matt, I am not answering your question am I.

  7. #7
    Gents

    I have managed to dig out and attach a photo of a group of 3 hinds with 5 calves in tow, there is two off to the right that is not in the picture that I took last year. There were no other deer in the vicinity as I had stalked through our small wood behind whee the deer are and glassed the farmer's hillside with no others there. I accept that hinds may 'adopt' where an older calve is orphaned, however, as I said in my OP this has been witnessed by me and 2 other far more experienced stalkers than I over te last 4 years. The predominance was for female calves with one set of 'twins' a female and male.

    Cyberstag- unless your gene pool has the trait of course you will not experience it no matter how long you farm deer- but as you and Stag 1933 have witnessed it does occur or do we treat your opening comments with 'skepticism' also!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by firsttimer; 11-06-2011 at 07:54.

  8. #8
    If you want the definitive answer, catch both "twins" take a hair sample and send off for DNA testing. I am sure Jeremy Kyle would be interested to know

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cyberstag View Post
    If you want the definitive answer, catch both "twins" take a hair sample and send off for DNA testing. I am sure Jeremy Kyle would be interested to know

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by matt_hooks View Post
    An unusual one here. Does anyone have any data on the rate of occurence of twins in red deer? I've always been led to believe that it's very rare, but does anyone have any actual data or figures?
    In answer to your question there is very little reliable data, twin foetii are very rare but do occur in red and sika deer. As in most species twin births usually give rise to calves of lower birth weights than singletons. there is a critical birthweight below which deer calves will not survive (Deer farming research 3kg for fallow- can't remember weight for reds) so it is probable that many of the small number of twins born do not survive anyway. Reproduction and twinning mechanisms (delayed implantation etc.) very different in roe. If there was any genetic predisposition to twinning in red deer I would have thought it would have been exploited in the NZ deer farming industry by now.

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