Belfast Telegraph

Birth of a three-legged calf catches farmer on the hop

By Donna Deeney

A dairy farmer has experienced an unusual delivery, after one of his herd gave birth to a three-legged calf.

Born less than two weeks ago the calf is now adapting to life on the farm with one of his front legs missing and is now managing to make his way around the farmyard much to the amazement of farmer, Kenneth Vance.

The Co Donegal man has been a farmer all his life but admits that he was in a state of shock when he first glimpsed the new arrival.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Vance recalled how hours after the cow went into labour he knew something wasn't as it should have been.

“In the normal run of things, cows manage to deliver very well unaided but this cow had been in labour for a while, and I knew something wasn't right,” said the Raphoe native.

“So I examined her and I was able to feel a head and one leg — I couldn't feel where the other leg was so I rang for the vet.

“He felt the same as me so we decided the best thing to do was to assist the cow so we tied a rope around the calf and helped pull him out, but nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.

“The wee calf looked perfect in every way except that it only had one front leg.

“My family has been calving cows for over 100 years but I certainly had never heard of a calf like this being born.”

Once the vet had checked the calf over, it seemed otherwise to be in good health, so the four junior members of the Vance clan soon added the new calf to their collection of pets.

“My own four children took a shine to him and even christened him Paul after the film about aliens because I suppose he does look like an alien. So in addition to their two cats, two dogs, two horses they now have a three-legged calf.

“Growing up in a farm they are used to nursing new born animals but Paul is like nothing they have seen before and he has turned into quite the celebrity.”

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