Deformed Calf
© Robert Charles/Fairfax NZ
ALL MESSED UP: A deformed calf still-born on Neil Davy's Urenui farm had one head, four ears, 2 torsos and 8 legs.
A stillborn calf is not something that usually sparks much comment - unless it has one head, two bodies, four ears and eight legs.

When Urenui sharemilker Neil Davy went to help one of his cows having problems calving on Monday night, he quickly realised something was not quite right.

"All I could see was two feet, so I put my hand in and felt a short nose. Then I realised the head was the wrong size compared to the rest of the body."

He pulled out an extra leg, but thinking it was twins he tried to push it back in, he said.
"It was hard going. I was up to my elbows in lube and calf goo, sweat coming off my forehead. It's not nice to see a cow in distress."

If he hadn't been there, the cow would have died.

Mr Davy and wife Suzanne are 50/50 sharemilkers and have just bought their herd, so Mr Davy is spending a lot of time watching over their cows. So far he has 142 calves born safely, including three sets of twins.

But the latest two "boys" are one, or should that be two, in a million.

Inglewood Veterinary Services vet Jonathan Spencer said it was "pretty unusual", when he heard about the calf.

He has been a vet for more than 30 years and had not heard of that deformity before.

"Abnormalities happen and in Taranaki with several hundred thousand cows there will be a small proportion percentage that have abnormalities. You get them with two heads, maybe one extra leg, or maybe two mouths; you get these odd deformities, but if there are two bodies it sounds like an incomplete divide of an egg."

Identical twins come from one egg that divides.

The calf sounded like it was from one egg that had not completely divided into two, Dr Spencer said.

Source: Fairfax NZ News