A mutant calf with two heads has been born on a farm in the US – to the shock of a family of farmers who had never seen anything like it before in five generations.
Scott Kolousek of Wessington Springs, South Dakota, USA, was halfway through the 2020 calving season when he discovered one of his cows having difficulty delivering her calf.
The poor little thing’s front legs and head were out, and everything seemed normal, but it would come no further until a caesarean section revealed the reason why.
“We didn’t know the calf was unusual until the vet pulled it out during the c-section,” said his wife, Amber.
“We have never had another double-headed calf. We calve out about 700 calves each year and have done this for generations. My husband is the fifth generation on the farm.
“But this is a first for us.”
Amber continued: “We were all pretty shocked to see the double-headed calf when he came out.
“Everyone there, including the vet, had never seen anything like it in real life.”
Sadly the calf didn’t survive delivery.
But outside the womb, the farmers could see it had two heads attached to two spines which joined at the pelvis.
The Kolousek herd has welcomed several pairs of twins this year and it looks like the two-headed cow was almost another.
“Early in the pregnancy an egg splits to become identical twins, but sometimes the process doesn’t completely split,” said Amber.
“So these should have been twin calves, but because things didn’t go right in their development, they were two calves stuck together.
“It is possible they may have survived a few days, but realistically they would never have been able to survive for very long.
“With only four legs total, it would have been pretty hard to get up and navigate around.
“But it would have been cool to have at least seen them try to live.”
Despite the rarity of two-headed creatures, the birth comes only days after another American farm welcomed a two-headed goat.
The goat, who was born at the Nueske family farm in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, survived and is being kept as a pet.
The tiny goat was said to be “worshipped as an avatar of God”.