Boar piglet learns to moo with new cow family

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5 Nov, 2010 Updated Fri 5 Nov 2010 10:44 CEST
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A wild boar piglet that strayed from its family has found a new home with a herd of Galloway cattle in the German state of Lower Saxony, learning to moo and even suckle from the cows for nourishment, media reports said this week.

Seven weeks ago, the wee hog showed up on a meadow owned by cattle farmer Bodo Bertsch near the village of Waake, he told Die Welt on Thursday.

They were shy at first, but since then his 14 cows and 12 calves have accepted “Freddy” as a member of their herd, Bertsch said.

The boar’s favourite member of the herd is “Rula,” from whom he rarely strays.

A farmhand discovered the boar, now estimated to be about four-months-old, in a meadow among the herd in September, Bertsch said.

“At first we could hardly believe it,” he said.

But in the following days, the piglet could be seen trotting around the field with the cows, and Bertsch, believing it to be a male, dubbed him “Freddy,” though he now believes the animal may actually be female.

Bertsch told Die Welt he has spoken with a number of experts about the unusual occurrence, and none had heard of such a friendship between cows and boars.

Egbert Strauß, deputy leader of the IWFo institute for wild animal research in Hannover, agreed.

“But pigs are clever,” he said. “The animal obviously lost his sounder and searched for a new one.”

Groups of wild boar sows and their young are called sounders.

Freddy seems to feel comfortable in her new home, eating grass like the cows and attempting, albeit with limited success, to imitate their mooing, Bertsch said.

She has also joined a calf in suckling from one of the cows, and when the cows bed down, she snuggles up next to them, he said.

Just how bovine the porcine pretender has become will be put to the test in mid-November when the herd will be transferred to their winter meadow.

“I’m interested to see whether Freddy marches onto the cattle trailer with the Galloways,” Bertsch said.

The Local/ka



2010/11/05 10:44

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