A five-legged cow has been hailed a miracle because when pregnant women touch its fifth hoof they give birth to baby boys.
Raj Pratap’s three-year-old male calf, called Raju, has become famous in Raipur, India, since a woman with four daughters touched the animal’s fifth hoof and begged for her next child to be a boy.
When she gave birth to a twin boys in February this year, word soon spread that the calf’s fifth leg – a very rare condition which affects just one in every five million cows – was ‘lucky’.
Since news got out about the fifth leg, Mr Pratap, a cattle herder, has been swamped by pregnant women who pay to touch the hoof – with 30 women so far stumping up around 500 rupees, around £5, for the privilege.
Amazingly, all 30 women have given birth to boys and Mr Pratap is so confident of his ‘miracle calf’ that he offers refunds if the baby born is a girl.
This week, on Monday (Dec 23) the cow celebrated its 33rd baby boy after a woman who touched its ‘magical hoof’ gave birth to triplets….all of them boys.
Mr Pratap said: “All births have been positive and have resulted in a son – and this week a woman gave birth to triplets, all of them boys.
‘I don’t know why this has happened to us but Raju has a gift and I want to share it with the whole world.
‘Some day I dream of taking Raju to Europe or America and making every couple there happy.’
In India boys are ‘more valued’ than girls as they have ‘greater earning potential’ to support the family.
The parents of a bride are still expected to provide the groom with a dowry of cash, jewellery and other luxury items before the wedding ceremony can go ahead – despite it being outlawed in India since 1961.
One woman, who gave birth to a boy in October this year but asked not to be named, said: ‘It is a gift from god – touching Raju’s fifth leg has blessed me with a boy.
‘My whole family is so happy that I now have a beautiful son.’
Cows are considered sacred by Hindus who believe one of their most important gods Lord Krishna to have been a cattle herder.
Across India they are allowed to roam the streets of towns and cities and it is forbidden to move them, even if they are obstructing traffic.