The odds of a mare giving birth to live twin foals is 1 in 10,000. So when Kevin Spurr of Spurrs Stud in Western Australia saw two newborn foals in his field, he thought two mares had given birth and one of the new mothers had run away. When he got closer, however, he realized what actually happened. His one-eyed mare named Pearl had given birth to twins, and against all odds, both babies looked happy and healthy.
Defying the Odds
Named Snip and Drip, the twin fillies were born much smaller than the average foal. In most cases of twin foals, one or both of the foals dies before, during, or soon after birth. And when twins are detected during the pregnancy, they're often aborted due to the extreme risk for the mother. Precious few sets of twins survive past two weeks old, but Snip and Drip have now passed that milestone age.
Equine veterinarian John Maxwell has been treating pregnant horses and foals for 50 years. With all that experience, he has never seen a case where both twins and their mother survive longer than a few weeks after birth. He says Snip, Drip, and Pearl are an "exceptional occurrence."
It Takes a Village
While the twin foals are growing every day, they're not yet out of the woods. They need to be fed every two hours and receive antibiotics to help them stave off illness. Pearl has been a doting mother, but her missing eye (an injury from when she was a yearling) means she needs a little help caring for her babies. There's a chance she might step on a youngster if it enters her blind spot, so Spurr and farmhand Nicole Kumpfmueller provide around-the-clock care and attention.
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"You can't really go anywhere at the moment because every two hours someone has to be here to do it. I think it's worth it. If you look at them, they're just too cute not to get up."
Caring for twin foals is not easy, and it's definitely not cheap. With the extra labor, vet visits, and medications, Spurr also has his business to think about. But despite the cost, he's dedicated to helping his surprise twin foals survive and thrive. The fillies are well cared for, and with love and a lot of attention, they'll grow to be beautiful horses.