Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Thursday, April 5, 2018

More to Love: An Update on our 6-Footed Calf

Photo taken March 21, 2018
"How's the 6-footed calf doing?"

Since I published the first blog about our 6-footed calf in February, Randy has answered the question while at breakfast at Joan's Cafe. We've both fielded inquiries at the grocery store, the bank, at church and assorted other locations.

And the answer is this:  It can run fast enough to escape as we were trying to load it into the trailer after working it and its group of contemporaries. (Not my fault, I'll have you know!) After a brief time of freedom, it went back to Peace Creek with its mom and others in the Class of 2018.

When I first wrote about the calf, we assumed that the extra parts were associated with an undeveloped conjoined twin. However, local veterinarian Bruce Figger provided a fact sheet about Developmental Duplication from the American Angus Association. The abnormality has been long observed in Angus cattle. It was previously thought to be caused by conjoined twins or other anomalies during fetal development.
Recently it was found to be a simply inherited recessive genetic condition passed through certain lines of Angus cattle. Animals affected with this condition can sometimes be born with an extra limb or part of an extra limb, a condition referred to as polymelia. If you're into genetics and a lot more information, check out the fact sheet.

But as you can see in the video I took a month ago, the baby is thriving and able to move around the pasture just as well as its contemporaries. And, as I said, it's now fast enough to get by two-legged people! I don't have video proof of that escapade. You'll just have to take my word for it!

6-footed calf from Kim Fritzemeier on Vimeo.

The 6-footed calf now has a number: 830. It also made the half-mile journey from Peace Creek to the working chutes by foot.
Doctor's appointments can take it out of you. Just ask No. 835.
So the calves got a chauffeured ride back to the pasture in the trailer.
The moms had to hoof it back to Peace Creek, following their babies.
Motherhood and being reunited with their offspring made the return trip fairly quick and uneventful.
Once back at the pasture, the moms and babies seemed glad to be back together, including No. 830 and its mom.  
This photo was taken in February, but shows the baby and mom together.


  1. I'm glad it's doing well! :) To be honest, after seeing the first pictures, I didn't have high hopes for the little one!

  2. Delightful post, but so sorry to see it so dry.

    1. We got 2 inches of snow, but I was away from home, watching our granddaughters, so there is no photographic proof. However, I don't know there was much moisture in it. We got some sprinkles this AM, but it didn't amount to much either.