The calf, though perfectly formed did not survive delivery. This is a wonderful story written by a local paper with great details and interviews with local veterinarians. Local newspapers are treasures.
Two-headed calf born in Emmett
By DIANA BAIRD Messenger Index | Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:00 am
A fully formed two-headed black crossbred beef calf was born Tuesday, April 10 at the 3 Bar B Ranch in the Tomâ€™s Cabin area. According to ranch foreman, Teryn Henderson the calf was born in the early morning hours. Henderson and his wife, Aimee, live at the ranch with their seven children and â€œone on the way.â€
Henderson said that they knew the cow was going to deliver that night or early in the morning because she kept turning in circles until late in the evening. Early the next morning, while it was still dark, Henderson went to the barn and noticed that the cow was lying down.
â€œI knew that things were just not right and went to work to help her out,â€ Henderson said.
He felt inside to find the head and found two. Thinking there were twins, he tried to find the four front feet. He only found two and knew that something wasnâ€™t right.
Henderson called his neighbor, Doug Brock, who lives a mile down the road, for help to get the calf out. Brock came right over to assist.
A calf puller was used to deliver the calf. When they pulled it out, they saw that the calf had two heads and one body. The calf did not survive.
â€œI havenâ€™t seen anything like that for about 35 years,â€ Brock said. â€œI have seen thousands of cattle born and Iâ€™ve never seen a two-headed perfect calf.â€ There were two necks and two perfectly formed heads.
Veterinarian Carrie Roitt, DVM rushed to the ranch to take care of the cow.
â€œIâ€™ve seen two-headed calves but mostly on dairy cows,â€ she said.
Owners of the 70 acre 3 Bar B Livestock Ranch are Sonia (Brock) and Chuck Wells of Emmett. Sonia comes from five generations of Brocks in Hollister, Idaho. Her grandfather decided to get into the cattle business and bought a herd of cattle when Sonia was a little girl.
When her parents moved to Emmett, they brought along the cattle from Hollister. Two years ago, Soniaâ€™s father died and left her the cattle as her inheritance. A year later, her mother also passed away. â€œThe cattle have been a healing tool for me after losing both parents,â€ she said. It was interesting and strange to have such a calf born out of the herd Sonia said. In checking the cattle records, she stated that there were not many twin births in past years.
The body of the twoheaded calf was taken to the University of Idahoâ€™s Caine Veterinary Teaching Center in Caldwell. Dr. James England, D.V.M., PhD. is a professor of Veterinary Medicine at the U of I and will perform the necropsy (autopsy) and use it as an opportunity to train veterinary students.
England said the calf was not a purebred but probably crossbred between an angus and hereford. He thinks that the problem was not inherited but that there was a breakdown of a twin embryo. Final details will be known after the examination.
â€œThey will usually have internal abnormalities also,â€ England said. â€œI get calls every other year about two headed calves but itâ€™s been five or six years since Iâ€™ve seen one in this area.â€
England did not know the odds of the two-headed calf but he thought it could maybe be about 10,000 of a percent or 1/million breedings.
It is not known at this time how long the college will have possession of the calf or where it will eventually end up but all of those involved know that the birth is a rare event. Twoheaded animals are found in pigs, cats, dogs and sheep. Most two-headed animals have additional medical issues and do not have a long life span. Two days after giving birth to the calf, the cow died.