A pair of rare twin foals have been born in Suffolk.
The maiden Welsh section D mare Greenwing Royal Rose gave birth to the pair 16 days ago.
Tiger and Lilly, who are by the Welsh section D stallion Danaway Sniper, are growing stronger each day and have become an internet hit after a video of them went viral.
The pregnancy went full-term as by the time the six-year-old mare had her first scan at 42 days, she was already quite far along with both foals within the same horn and it was decided to let nature run its course. Scans are usually carried out between 12-14 days post covering.
“We are lucky to have two healthy foals,” owner Lee Smith told H&H. “Rose has taken to motherhood very well.
“They were two weeks old on Monday [20 March] and are getting stronger every day. We can see them really building themselves up.
“The biggest one is quite outgoing, while the littler one stays with the mare most of the time.”
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The owner was there at the birth — one of the foals was born inside her sac, which they were able to pierce, but no veterinary intervention was needed during the delivery.
Live twins are a rarity as it is very risky for the mare to carry them full term and one — or both — twins do not normally survive.
While it is common for mares to conceive twins, if they are spotted early enough on an ultrasound a vet will usually ‘pinch’ (abort) one embryo to give the other foal and the mare the best chance of a safe, full-term, healthy pregnancy.
Vet Dr Chris Lehrbach told H&H that while the pair are not “out of the woods” yet, they are doing well.
“It is very difficult to give actual figures [for how rare full-term equine twins are],” he said.
He added very often it is unknown that twins have been conceived as mares commonly naturally abort one at a very early stage, and that vets do “everything they can” to avoid them going to term to maximize the chance of a safe pregnancy.