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Shiny gives birth to triplets
Cattle herder Ashbar Ali, whose cow Shiny gave birth to triplets in a rare single birthing, says he is willing to share his knowledge of animal husbandry to the University of the West Indies.
Ali, of Realize Road, Barrackpore, said it is not the first time he has assisted the university with research having supplied bison milk for a project several years ago. The rare birth which experts say is the first of its kind in the Caribbean occurred on December 29 and since then Ali has been working around the clock to ensure that the calves and their mother are comfortable.
In an interview yesterday, Ali said, “I have to bring grass for Shiny to eat so that she could produce enough milk for them.” The young calves gambolled around during the interview and one of them ventured closer to suck this reporter’s fingertips.
Since their birth Ali said he has already spent $1,200 in supplements for the animals. The calves have been suckling but as they grow it will be difficult for Shiny to produce enough milk to sustain them.
Asked about his methods in cattle rearing, Ali said his ten cows and eight bisons were pasture-bred.
“Every day I visit them, at least twice per day. I talk to them,” Ali said. He added that the animals are not fed grain but eat grass. The female cows are given artificial insemination by the Ministry of Agriculture and like Shiny they all give birth out in the fields.
Ali said when Shiny was impregnated, she did not have an unusual sized belly.
“She did not even look as if she full,” he joked. He said she was due to give birth in January but on December 29, two weeks before her due date, he went to the pasture and saw four of them looking up at him.
“I was so surprised I had to sit down for 15 minutes. I could not believe that she gave birth to three calves,” Ali recalled. When he called his wife Maria to tell her the good news she did not believe him at first.
“Only when they came down to the pasture and they saw her with them that Maria believed me,” Ali laughed. He said since the strange occurrence, some people have accused him of being dishonest about the birth.
“They think I buy two young calves but anyone who doesn’t believe me can come and see them for yourself. Each of them nursing from the mother,” Ali said. Two of the calves are identical with a white heart shaped spot on their head while the other has a thin zigzag line which Maria said reminds her of Harry Potter. Ali said although Maria has started call;calling the calf Harry he did not think it was appropriate as all of the calves are females.
Maria said they usually name the animals based on their characteristics.
She said Shiny had an unusually shiny coat and that was how she got her name.
Veterinary surgeon and former government minister Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh examined the animals yesterday and gave them all a clean bill of health.
“This is a significant historic breakthrough in animal production. This is history as it is the first time that a cow has given birth to three healthy calves. Ashbar Ali has nursed this animal through its pregnancy. His farming practices must be studied. The UWI should be here and the scientific community should converge at Realize Road to examine the blood parameters, the hormone levels of these animals. Let us see what are the old school methods he used because this is something unique that must be learnt.”
He said the last time this happened worldwide was in Mexico in 2005.
Ramadharsingh called on the Government to subsidise Ali for his expenses adding that the animals should be adopted by the scientific community.
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