A CAMEL with two humps and a bump has stunned her owners by giving birth to a calf.
Andrew Henshaw, owner of Mainsgill Farm, near Richmond, said he believed five-year-old Bactrian camel Doris’s labour had been triggered by a neighbouring llama giving birth.
Mr Henshaw said Doris and her half-sister Delilah had gained a lot of weight since arriving at the attraction last June, but he had put that down to good husbandry and that she had not displayed signs of being pregnant.
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He said Doris had appeared normal while he checked the farm’s lambs and llamas on Thursday morning (April 17), but minutes later farm worker Bob Shaw ran into the farm shop saying she was giving birth.
Mr Henshaw said: “We were absolutely gobsmacked. Everyone thinks of lambs and bunnies at Easter, nobody was thinking we would have a baby camel.
“It was a textbook delivery with the calf’s nose and feet coming out first.
“We put some manuka honey on a teet to encourage it a drink colostrums and it took to it well before then moving on to feed from its mother every 20 minutes.”
While camels are known for their stubborn and crabbish personalities, Mr Henshaw said Doris had appeared “stand-offish” after the birth before her mothering instinct kicked in.
He said: “It’s a funny looking thing, and you would think it was straight out of Jurassic Park the noise it was making.”
Mr Henshaw said while the gestation period for camels can range from 12 to 15 months, camels often choose when they give birth, often opting for times when they are in a herd, so they can deliver at the same time.
He said as Doris’s neighbour, a llama called Maisy, another member of the camelid family, had given birth on Tuesday and that was likely to have triggered the camel’s labour.
Mr Henshaw, whose farm also includes alpacas, ostriches and reindeer, said: “It is quite amazing that the timing of both births was so close.”
He said the attraction would run a competition for visitors to name the camel calf.