Thursday, May 26, 2011

Morgan County farmer raising hairless calf: 'I knew something wasn't right'

DECATUR, Alabama — A Morgan County farmer finds himself raising an animal a little different from his usual Black Angus cattle — a hairless calf.
The farmer, 72-year-old Billy Widener, said the calf was born May 17 in the pasture of his 11-acre farm.
"I saw it slowly coming down, and I knew something wasn't right," he said. "All 11 of my cows are Black Angus. And I thought I was seeing red."
Widener consulted a veterinarian and took on the task of keeping the calf out of the sun so it won't blister.
"I picked him up and took him to the shade in the corral behind the barn," he said. "But the mother kept pushing the fence down. I led them to a shade at the back of the pasture, and for the most part, they remain in that area. The cows are good mothers and watch after their young."
The veterinarian, Michael Penney of County Line Veterinary Services, said the calf apparently has a condition that keeps tissues from forming normally.
"It's rare but not unheard of. I would guess that this calf will never be normal, and it is unlikely that any more hair will ever grow. It's going to have issues with sunburn. But other than that, the calf is healthy and should grow and develop fine."
Penney said the calf is otherwise healthy and should grow and develop normally.
Widener said it's currently the only calf on his property

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