A Surprise Package Arrives!

Greetings from “down under” in New Zealand.

Although my husband and I have a standard Polled Hereford Stud, “Riverlands” which was established over forty years ago I only got into the Miniature Hereford world last October when I purchased two in-calf cows and two heifers. After looking at the different names for my little stud my husband suggested the name “Riverlets” which he felt appropriate to the size and location!

My first calf arrived on November 30th which was most exciting. Her mother’s name was Cracker so she was named Sparkler! Three days later I got a real surprise. While checking on the other cow I discovered she had calved and had a calf suckling from her. When I went into the paddock there was another calf lying down which at first I thought was the older calf then noticed that one was actually with its mother. A few minutes later the newly-calved cow walked over to the other calf which got up and both started feeding! We already had five sets of twins born to our standard Herefords and here was a sixth set on the farm.

These twins caused quite a stir over here and in Australia as they appear to be the first recorded twins born in the Southern Hemisphere. They are now six months old and the little mother has fed them unaided through one of the worst droughts we have had for decades. Although still smaller than average they are healthy and lively. They are a bull and heifer but I found two separate placentas in the paddock and providing these were not joined in utero the heifer could be fertile instead of a freemartin. No matter, she will be trained for showing along with the others and be useful for advertising purposes.

My aim is to establish a polled Miniature Hereford herd and although I have found a number of potential sires in the States the red tape associated with importing semen is proving somewhat challenging. There is semen from only one polled bull here at present and we have several females in calf to him but need more for our breeding programme. I have more coming in from Australia but would like at least another two as we will also be carrying out flushing programmes in the near future.

Becoming a member of the MHBA and receiving your newsletter is a real highlight for my interest in miniatures and there is so much useful information to take on board. We have no specific showing classes over here for the little animals but as I run the cattle section at our local agricultural show I have introduced a ring for small beef breeds and hope it will expand to other shows. What I read in your newsletter gives me plenty of ideas for promoting this.

Janet Poole
Riverlets Miniature Herefords
New Zealand

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