By Janet Tappin Coelho
A farmer got the shock of his life when he discovered a chick born with FOUR legs.
Dienes Lima, 25, who owns a bird farm, was moving hatchlings from the brooder to the nursery on Tuesday [14/03] when he came across the abnormal bird.
The bird farmer has raised hens, quails and ducks in Mancio Lima, north west Brazil for six years and had ‘never seen anything like it.’
Dienes said: “I noticed one of the chicks was bigger than the others.
“When I inspected it, I found to my surprise it had two extra legs.
“I’ve been breeding birds for over six years and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The four-legged fledgling has been nicknamed ‘Quatro Patos’ or ‘Four Legs’, and appears to be healthy and unhindered by its two extra limbs.
According to Dienes the chick feeds well and runs freely on its normal two legs without difficulty.
He added: “The extra limbs don’t appear to get in the way.
“They don’t function or have any strength to hold the creature up.
“They don’t even move but hang immobile out the back of its body as it scoots around with the other birds in the chicken coop.”
Dienes, who is also a university professor of languages and runs the farm as a hobby, said: “I thought the chick would die within a couple of hours or so, because this is what usually happens with animals born with a deformity.
“But it’s now nearly two weeks and Four Legs seems to be going from strength to strength.”
The aviculture expert said the bird was part of a batch of dozens of eggs incubated for the normal 21 days.
He said:”I placed 90 eggs in the chicken brooder and 78 hatched. They were all born in perfect physical condition except for this one.”
According to zoological experts the anomaly is called polymelia where a creature or a human being is born with multiple limbs and could be the result of a parasitic twin.
Luiz Leite, a vet at the Acre Agroforestry Development Institute based in Brazil’s north west region expressed surprise at the phenomenon.
He said:”This is really rare. I have never seen a bird with four legs before.
“I’ve come across animals with two heads but this is a first.
“This could be the result of biologically close relatives mating with each other. Inbreeding can trigger a congenital malformation which manifests in the offspring.
“We’ll just have to wait to see if the chick survives into adulthood.”
Dienes said he has reared thousands of birds over the years but this rare feathered fowl has impressed him with its ‘plucky determination’ to survive and he’s grown attached to the odd-looking chick.
While the rest of the offspring have since been sold, Dienes has kept Four Legs.
He added: “As long as it lives I’ll not sell it. I’ll look after it and make sure it has every opportunity to grow up to become the farm’s mascot.”