The ‘mutant’ cow from Qinglong County, in south-western China's Guizhou Province, narrowly missed being put down.
His current owner, Chen Mingguo, said the deformity was immediately noticeable after the calf was born, promoting his breeder to call the entire neighbourhood to see it.
While the animal was considered something of a freak show at the time, none of the other farmers were willing to buy the animal, fearing it would die quickly and result in a financial loss for its owner.
The cow's extra limb is on its back
However, Mr Chen decided to bring the cow home out of “curiosity”, and says he has been happy to see the animal mature into adulthood without any issues.
The limb has not developed over the months, with local agricultural experts saying it is unlikely to affect the cow’s wellbeing.
Huang Weiquan, a local breeder, said the cow is not really deformed or a mutant as many believe, but simply the only survivor in what was once a pair of twins.
The dairy cow was almost put down due to the extra limb
He explained: “The twin egg did not separate properly during fertilisation, so it resulted in the extra leg growing on the back.
“It's not a 'freak’.”
It is not known why China has such an extraordinarily high number of mutant animals – although some have laid blame on the country’s environmental pollution.
In the past few years, the country has seen a number of mutant pigs born on rural farms – including one born with two heads.
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