A tiny calf little more than a foot high could be the world’s smallest cow.
Shorty, as farmer James Vance’s family are calling her, is the daughter of Ruby and grand-daughter of Ella, who last year competed for entry in the Guinness Book as the world’s shortest cow.
At 78cm, Ella was hailed as the world’s shortest for several months before she was beaten to the title by Manikyam, at 61.5cm, on a farm in Kerala, India.
James and his wife Laura believe their Shorty, when she is fully grown, could win the title back for Ireland.
He said at his home in Ballinacarrick, Co Donegal: “She is the smallest calf I have ever seen. She is little more than half-way up my wellie.”
Shorty was born on Friday night to Ruby, a rare Dexter animal who is about the same size as her own mother Ella, who lives on a farm in Dromore West, Co Sligo.
Shorty’s father, Tyson, is only 18 months old and is also owned by James.
He said: “Ruby went into labour on Friday morning and she delivered Shorty at 11pm that night. I had a long night because I stayed with her until 4am on Saturday morning making sure she and her calf settled down nicely before I felt I could leave.”
Twelve hours earlier another calf was born on the farm, several times the size of little Shorty.
She was a Limousin weighing 70kg. Shorty only weighs 18kg. She is no bigger than a full-grown terrier. Her mother Ruby can walk under the kitchen table.
Diminutive Shorty has already been adopted as a pet by the Vances’ only child, four-year-old Nathan.
The family won’t know for three years, until she is fully grown, if Shorty will qualify as the world’s smallest bovine.
Dexter cows were bred in Ireland in the 1600s by William Dexter in Tipperary.
He bred them so that people who owned a cottage acre could keep a cow and its calf and they would have their own butter and milk.
Dexter cows were almost in danger of extinction in the 1970s but they are now enjoying a resurgence.
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