WHEN a lamb was born with five legs on his farm near York, farmer Andrew Bell could not believe his eyes.
Five-legged lambs are one in a million occurrence in the UK and so the arrival of the rare lamb had Mr Bell calling on the help of his daughter Katy, a vet, to assist with her delivery.
Having survived its entry into the world, the unusual animal was named ‘Fiver’ because of her extra limb.
Katy said: “We’ve never seen anything like this before, this is very rare, we called her Fiver because she has five legs, we think the most likely reasons for being born with an extra limb could be that she was trying to form into a conjoined twin in the womb and didn’t get very far.”
The story of Fiver will be shown tomorrow (Tues Oct 3) on Channel 5 show The Yorkshire Vet.
Country Week columnist, vet Julian Norton, who is one of the stars of the show, said: “It’s astonishing. When Katy, who works with me, called to tell me about the lamb, I couldn’t quite believe it, I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Fellow vet and former Herriot trainee Peter Wright was astonished by Fiver.
He said: “She’s like a circus exhibit, so rare.”
The decision was taken to amputate the extra limb at the former James Herriot practice, Skeldale Veterinary Centre in Thirsk to give the lamb a better chance in life.
Julian said: “Fiver couldn’t eat as the leg was getting in the way and was unable to suckle her mother so we had to operate.
“It was tricky as Fiver was so young and the anatomy was so different as she had an extra leg, we didn’t want her under anaesthetic for too long and so got the operation done within 20 minutes.
“It was a little touch and go but Fiver came through it and it was a success. Within a few hours she was back with her mum in the fields having fun like nothing had happened, we feel very privileged to have experienced such a rare occurrence.”
In March this year a five-legged lamb was born in Derbyshire and in 2015 a similar lamb was born in Wales. Another five-legged lamb born in Morpeth had its extra limb removed in 2014.
In the case of Fiver, she has been been afforded a stay of execution from being used for meat by North Yorkshire smallholder Wendy Youll.
She said: “I immediately wanted to give her a forever home, she is such an amazing creature and I didn’t want her ending up on someone’s dinner plate. Lambs live in pairs so we have also adopted another lamb called Penny. Fiver is doing really well on her four legs despite her rather curious entrance into the world.”
The Yorkshire Vet: A 5 Legged Lamb & Other Curious Creatures airs on Channel 5 at 8pm tomorrow (Tuesday Oct 3).