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Bonnie Highland calf twins born to Shirley Manson with the assistance of a ‘digital midwife’

Highland calves William Wallace and Robert the Bruce are blissfully oblivious to the efforts undertaken to make sure they’ve been born blissful and wholesome. 

Unable to go away their house in locked down Sydney, the twins’ homeowners made use of a world-first know-how, which acted as a digital midwife for his or her mom. 

“We will comfortably sleep very straightforward at evening understanding that we are able to verify in on them nearly, wherever we’re,” Neil Varcoe mentioned. 

He and his spouse had began utilizing digital tags on Highland cattle at their property within the Capertee Valley, close to Lithgow, so they might hold a more in-depth watch on the herd from their house in Sydney. 

The tag tracks an animal’s motion and may also collect knowledge that particulars their welfare, well being and efficiency. 

This data is distributed through satellite tv for pc to their homeowners.

Highland cow standing in cattle yards
First-time mum Shirley Manson stunned all people with twins. (

ABC Central West: Xanthe Gregory 


The know-how has been significantly helpful as a result of one in all their Highland cows, Shirley Manson (named for the Edinburgh rock singer), was in calf. 

“It principally offers us real-time location knowledge, so we’re capable of see precisely the place Shirley is at any time limit,” Mr Varcoe mentioned. 

Highland calf standing in front of a tree and staring at camera
Freedom: William Wallace is called after a well-known Highlands hero.(

Provided: Neil Varcoe


When Shirley was exhibiting indicators of labour, Mr Varcoe was capable of alert neighbours within the Capertee Valley to verify on her progress and guarantee she was not struggling or in misery.

Double the enjoyable

Like all good tales, there’s a plot twist. 

First-time mom Shirley gave beginning to twins, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce (named after two Scottish warriors). 

“She initially took them each in however then after a short while she determined she was solely going to deal with one.”

Three Highland Cattle staring at camera
The remainder of the herd is in a separate paddock to provide William Wallace and Shirley some peace and quiet. (

ABC Central West: Xanthe Gregory 


It’s fairly frequent for heifers to reject a twin, significantly if there’s a hole within the time between when they’re born. 

Robert the Bruce has been paired with a surrogate “mom”, a neighbour’s Ballot Hereford who lately misplaced a new child calf. 

Robbie, as he’s now recognized, might be reunited with William and Shirley as soon as he’s weaned. 

Picture of flat valley surrounding by cliff-faced mountain range
The homeowners have been unable to go away locked down Sydney to verify on their cattle within the distant Capertee Valley, close to Lithgow. (

ABC Central West: Xanthe Gregory 


The know-how has given the herd’s homeowners peace of thoughts. 

“Once we first purchased the farm in the course of the hottest days of summer season I might get within the truck and drive the three-to-four hours on the market, verify that they had water and are available again all inside a day,” Mr Varcoe mentioned. 

They now additionally use one other kind of know-how to maintain monitor of the water provides on the property.

Cows to giraffes

The ear tags are the brainchild of an organization that needed to enhance safety on its household farm. 

“It has a really excessive retention charge. It isn’t straightforward to get the tags off in any respect.”

Giraffe with ear tag attached to ear
The ear tags have additionally been utilized by the Giraffe Conservation Basis to assist stop poaching in Namibia.(

Provided: Giraffe Conservation Basis (Twitter)


The know-how was developed in partnership with the CSIRO and got here on-line in Might.

The corporate goes by way of an accreditation course of for the tags to be acknowledged abroad. 

They’re already getting used to assist stop poaching and predation of giraffe in Namibia. 

“We’re attempting to struggle that with Ceres Tags to cut back the impression of that as a result of the animals are usually not solely valued however there aren’t that many any extra,” Mr Smith mentioned. 


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