Texan cattle farmer, Teg Whisson, got more than he bargained for after winning a recent produce competition in Fort Worth. His 1485lb history making giant pumpkin began to grow legs - quite literally - as they unloaded the prize on his ranch return. Two hours later, Whisson was delivering a calf. Not as one would expect from its labouring mother but actually from within Whisson's prize pumpkin.
While on the surface this story may seem incredibly far-fetched, one only has to understand Whisson's experimental tendencies in Artificial Insemination (AI) to realise the situation isn't far removed from normality.
"After we finished dosing up the heifers we still had some sperm left over. Jed [Whisson's 2IC], who was probably more inebriated than I after a few celebratory drinks challenged me to inseminate my pumpkin patch. We did it as a joke and never really thought anything would come of it," said Whisson.
Pumpkins and cattle have occupied Whissons time for the past 23 years. His countless awards for his Hereford bull and breeding stock have made Teg a sought after 'guru' in AI procedures and new technologies. Combined with his pastime of growing giant pumpkins he has became infamous within the Texan Country Fairs association.
But nobody ever expected that the two could mix.
The concoction that was syringed into the fledgling pumpkin was a mix of bull sperm and fertile eggs, the same that Whisson impregnates in all his heifers. It's a new technology that Whisson had been trialling to increase fertility rates in his breeding stock with amazing success.
So, how does a calf grow inside a pumpkin? Well, it seemed all the conditions were perfect for this little bovine to mature. The pumpkin seemingly nurtured the calf with enough inner warmth due to its incredible bulk and obviously supplied the foetus with enough nutrient.
"When the calf finally birthed, the pumpkin deflated like a punctured balloon. It was an extraordinary experience."
While the pumpkin was certainly a great incubator during gestation, it apparently wasn't enough to prepare the calf for life after birth. A few short hours later the young animal struggled to continue its breathing and died.
Whisson was asked whether he would try this experiment again. "No. It wasn't an experiment just some harmless fun that produced an incredible result. Pumpkins aren't made to rear baby calves and it's harder to produce a giant pumpkin than a few breeding heifers. We'll stick with nature's intentions."
Source: April 1st Media