Surprise delivery at Lincoln Park Zoo farm

November 23, 2010 (CHICAGO)

However, a new calf made a surprise debut at the dairy barn at Lincoln Park Zoo's Farm in the Zoo. Not even the experts knew she was coming.

"We have a four day old Holstein calf. A female. Born on Friday and she's a real cutie," said Steve Thompson, senior v. p. conservation programs. "And doing very well."

The calf's arrival isn't unusual as Holstein cows are anything but endangered. And the not yet named cow isn't the first one born at the zoo farm; she's the 41st born there. What's unusual is that she's a total surprise. No bull.

"Well, there's always a bull somewhere. But I don't really know ah, umm what this particular farmer does. Probably artificial insemination... and probably, probably the assumption was that that didn't take," said Thompson.

An area farmer supplies the zoo with livestock. The animals are raised here for a time and then go back to the farmer. According to the deal, those animals aren't supposed to be pregnant. But the calf's mother, 4-year-old Ameret, was.

"Totally unexpected. When she came to us from the farmer she had been pronounced as not being pregnant," said Tompson.

Despite last Friday's total surprise the folks at Lincoln Park Zoo are totally happy. They have a new attraction at least until spring.

"I would assume this will probably go back to the farmer sometime in March or April but that hasn't quite been decided yet," said Thompson. "On the udder hand it might stay here."

The zoo is open winter hours, which means it closes at 4:30 p.m. So visitors should arrive long before the cows come home.

Lincoln Park Zoo
Location: off Lake Shore Drive at the Fullerton Parkway exit
Winter Hours: November- March, 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

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