I have been asked if horses could have twins a few times before. I feel that the reason this has been asked is that usually horses are only seen with just one foal rather than two. Just like in people, it is known that horses generally carry one baby at a time and don’t have litters like dogs or cats do. With this in mind, the question of whether or not horses can have twins like people can is often asked.
Can Horses Have Twins?
Yes, horses can have twins. Though rare, seeing twins in horses is still not unheard of. Having twins in horses is not the most desirable thing as twin horses often are miscarried, have health issues, or have other sorts of problems. Though a healthy pair of twins and a healthy mom is the most desireable result of a twin pregnancy, this isn’t always the case.
Are Horse Twins Rare?
Yes, seeing twins in horses is extremely rare. Not only do horses most commonly carry just one foal, but seeing a horse with healthy living twins is really rare too as most twin pregnancies are short-term and result in a variety of complications, and some end even with fatalities.
Are Horse Twins Identical?
Just like in people, there are twins in horses that are born both identical and unidentical. It totally depends on the mare and the pregnancy.
Some foals will be born completely identical with matching markings, genders, and coat colors, while other foals will be born with different coat markings, opposite genders, and different coat colors. Though some horse twins are identical, not all of them will be born this way.
Can Horse Twins Be Male & Female?
Though it is really rare, some horse twins will be born with opposite genders, one male and one female. It is more common to see twin foals being born with the same gender, but opposite genders are not unheard of.
Is One Twin Usually Smaller?
Yes, just like in a litter, there is almost always a runt. This means that usually one of the foals is smaller, weaker, and suffers more issues than the bigger, taller, and stronger foal.
Are There Certain Types, Ages, & Breeds Of Horses That Are More Likely To Have Twins Than Others?
Older horses tend to release more eggs than normal. This means that the older the horse, the more eggs are available to be fertilized. With this being said, it is safe to say that older mares are more likely to have twin foals than other younger mares because of the state and health of their reproductive system.
Is It Dangerous For A Horse To Have Twins?
Yes, it is extremely dangerous for a mare to carry twins. The reason why is because of the variety of health issues and pregnancy complications that a mare or her foal can face. Some of these health issues and complications include:
- Vaginal Discharge
- An Inflamed Or Swollen Placenta
- Breeched Foals
- Premature Births
- Placental Detachment.
Is It Common For A Horse To Carry Twins For The Entirety Of Their Gestation Period?
No. In most cases, the delivery of two healthy happy, and sound foals is extremely rare. The reason this is so rare in horses is because of the number of health issues and complications one can face when carrying two foals and attempting to have your foals born on or near their due date.
Most mares will miscarry one or two of their foals just because twin births are so difficult to survive.