2012 - Volume #36, Issue #5, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Dwarf Calf Survives Despite Odds
Schwartz and his wife didn’t think George would make it either, at first, so they bottle-fed him when they found him. Schwartz got up at 1 a.m. to feed him again. But after he helped him up, the calf went to his mother for food. Her low bag proved to be the perfect height.
A couple months later, George is doing okay. His short legs are his most distinctive feature compared to other calves his age. The dwarf calf is only 20 in. tall from hoof to shoulder.
“When he gets up he’s a little stiff. He tries to bounce around. He has a different walking style that seems stiffer,” Schwartz says.
George has little potential as a market animal, but there has been interest from a petting zoo. Since the calf wasn’t born dead and didn’t have an elongated jaw that’s common to dwarfism, it’s possible that George’s size is just a deformity.
But the state veterinarian is interested in why a registered Simmental bull and mixed breed black cow had a dwarf calf – something that has been culled from herds since the 1950’s.
The Simmental Association sent Schwartz a DNA kit to see if either or both of the parents had a gene that caused the dwarf trait.
“I just have to figure out how to get some of the bull’s tail hairs,” Schwartz says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Donald Schwartz, W11946 Maple Ridge Rd., Gresham, Wis. 54128 (ph 715 787-3751).
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