A rare goat-sheep – a hybrid animal that is part goat and part sheep – has been born on a farm in the Republic of Ireland.
The animal, referred to as a geep, was born about two weeks ago on Paddy Murphy’s farm in County Kildare.
The unexpected arrival is thought to be the result of mating between a goat and one of the sheep farmer’s Cheviot ewes.
Paddy Murphy said the cross-breeding was not intentional. He described it as a “pure shock to the system” and said it would be a “one-off” event on his farm.
“I’ve never seen anything like him before,” he told the Irish Farmers Jpurnal, adding that his family had been involved in sheep farming for “generations”.
Paddy Murphy confirmed that the geep appeared to be healthy and “thriving” and was able to run faster than other lambs that were born around the same time.
“He’s unbelievable,” he said.
“He’s so fast you’d have to get him into the pen to catch him. There’s no chance you would catch him otherwise.”
The sheep farmer, who also owns Murphy’s pub in Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare, spoke to the journal in an interview headlined: Ewe gotta be kidding.
Paddy Murphy said he witnessed a goat mating with ewes on his farm during “tupping” season five months ago, but had given the matter little thought until the geep appeared.
He said the new arrival had created a lot of laughter in the pub, when he showed mobile phone pictures of the hybrid to his customers and friends.
“He’s an unusual character,” Paddy Murphy added, saying the animal was developing a set of horns on its head.
The Irish Farmers Journal said it was the first time it had reported the birth of a healthy geep in Ireland.
A spokeswoman for Ulster Farmers Union said the live birth of a so-called geep is a very rare event and they are not aware of any currently in existence in Northern Ireland.
She said this form of cross-breeding, on the rare occasion it does occur, is likely to involve a buck goat and a ewe.
However, the geep usually dies during the ewe’s pregnancy or is stillborn.
Paddy Murphy said the ewe in question was raising the geep “just like a lamb”.
As for the hybrid animal’s future, the farmer said he was not planning to send the geep for slaughter but would try to keep it for as long as it was practically possible to look after it.
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