1988 - Volume #12, Issue #4, Page #17[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Ever seen a hairless calfA Minnesota farm family found out how fast news travels this spring when one of their beef cows gave birth to a rare, "hair-less" bull calf.
"We've been featured in local and state newspapers and a local TV station did a story on the calf. Calls have been coming in from everywhere. One caller even gave us a recipe for a hair-growing tonic that involved the use of castor oil and whiskey," says Marian Duncan of Ceylon, Minn., who along with her husband Wayne are the owners of the unusual Hereford/Simmental calf.
Nicknamed "Baby Face", the calf is normal except for its lack of hair. At birth, on March 23, the calf had hair only around its eyes, in its ears and on its belly. Although the skin showed pigmentation where the light and dark hair should have been, it was otherwise "smooth as a baby's bare bottom", according to the Duncans.
"The biggest problem with raising the calf is the weather. We're not sure if we should let him go outside because we're afraid he'll get sunburned. People have suggested we should use suntan lotion," says Marian, noting that an animal scientist told them the hairless condition of the animal is probably the "freak" result of a recessive gene that only shows up in 1 out of 20,000 animals or so. Hairless animals usually have other problems, too, so they're born dead or don't survive.
At three months of age, as this issue of FARM SHOW went to press, it appeared the unusual calf might be sprouting a normal crop of hair. "It's too soon yet to tell whether he'll develop a healthy hide that would protect him from the sun and flies," Marian says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Wayne Duncan, Rt. 1, Box 115, Ceylon, Minn. 56121 (ph 507 632-4677).
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