Saturday 17 March 2018

Farmer stunned as camel gives birth

Doris the camel's as-yet-unnamed calf
Doris the camel's as-yet-unnamed calf

The owners of a farm shop and tea shop were stunned to find one of their two camels was giving birth today - as they are both female.

Farmer Andrew and Maria Henshaw had no idea that Doris the camel, who lives with her half-sister Delilah, was in the family way until she began to calve.

Mr Henshaw, who runs the Mainsgill Farm Shop near Richmond, North Yorkshire, said he half suspected Jimmy the llama in the pen next to Doris may be responsible, as he is such a rascal. But he reckoned that Doris, who has not been near a male camel from more than a year, was impregnanted before she was brought from a farm in Cornwall to North Yorkshire.

Mr Henshaw had been up early lambing and was leaving the shed to scrub up and open the tea shop when an experienced livestockman came running over to tell him one of the camels was giving birth.

"I said 'you're joking' when he told me," Mr Henshaw said. "By the time we got there the feet and head were out and so we gave it a tug and it came out.

"This was totally out of the blue. When he was first born he sounded like a dinosaur with the noise he was making, like something off Jurassic Park.

"Now a few hours later, he looks like a giraffe with his long neck, or the Loch Ness monster because of his two floppy humps."

The family will keep the male baby camel and are running a competition to name the new arrival. Mr Henshaw, a 46-year-old father of three, said the family bought Doris and Delilah to replace Kevin the camel when he died last year, as he had been so popular with visitors.

He said camels' gestation period can last 12-15 months and he believed that a llama giving birth in the next pen a few days ago may have spurred Doris on.

Press Association

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