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17 322 Other Poultry Species

Wiebe van der Sluis

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Wiebe van der Sluis was born on a mixed farm in the Netherlands and being the youngest of six children he often had to give a hand in feeding the pigs, poultry and sheep. It is here that his affection for the smaller farm animals is rooted.

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The discovery of a duckling with four legs, in the United Kingdom, hit the news this week and not in a small way. The item got, not only a mentioned in the newspaper, but also on the UK's national radio. It also hit the news in other parts of Europe. Is this really that big of a story? (Comments 17)

 

A discovery of a duckling with four legs, in the United Kingdom, hit the news this week and not in a small way.

The item got, not only a mentioned in the newspaper, but also on the UK's national radio. It also hit the news in other parts of Europe.

Is this really that big of a story?

It at least it shows how far most people have moved away from nature. Now anything unusual about one of Mother Nature's creations is all of a sudden big news. This type of genetic mishap would have, decades ago, gotten, if anything at all, just a short mention in the local newspaper.
This is not to say that a duck with four legs isn't news. I remember a visit to Malaysia where a bull with five legs was kept near a pagoda to symbolize the role of a god-head in the creation of life. The bull became a holy creature and was protected and worshipped. Should this little duckling get the same treatment or should we leave it as an interesting failure in the genetic melting pot inside the oviduct of the duckling's mother.
The latter is probably the most realistic approach. But still, if the same would have happened in the lab of a geneticist the reactions would have been completely different. The geneticist would have been crucified by the media and animal welfare organisations.
But what about this situation? Is the, so far unknown, mother duck going to be blamed for wrongdoing or should we worship her too?
The last statement may sound a little strange but every time these sort of genetic surprises come up I have to think about expressions made by numerous people who state that people should not play God by changing His creation. So with this in mind should we therefore ignore natural genetic mishaps and condemn man-made genetic creations?
The human world is a little confused about this issue. If this little duckling proves to be able to live with these four legs and able to reproduce this genetic trait so humans could profit from it, how would we respond than? I know it is not likely to happen but it shows how complicated the issue of genetic modification is today.
It reminds me the worldwide discussion on making use of featherless chickens (WP - August 2002 ) for poultry meat production in countries with a hot climate. The discussion faded but the birds did not.

by Wiebe van der Sluis last update:Feb 3, 2010

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17 comments

  • # 1

    Nkay

    I wonder what rationale gave birth to the 4-legged duckling if it was as you wrote a manmade genetic being. Would it remain aves or become a mammal if it were to survive? Ineed your help with these puzzles.
  • # 2

    Frank

    Actually it is very strenge to see some these mishaps. But we have to accept the fact that anything strenge could happened during the cell division period. Let's preserve and care for it until we see what happens next.
  • # 3

    dve

    i dont think there should be much noise about this.i wish we see it as one of those genetic abberations.a three legged broiler chick was once seen in my part of the world years back.
  • # 4

    Robert Wuthrich

    Dear Wiebe,

    Don't we all know a lot of "ducks" with 4 legs in our world?
  • # 5

    Adejoro

    It is nothing short of another genetic misharp as had been observed in humans where cases of monsters been reported.
    The local african people may believe that external demonic influence can interfare in the ebryological formation in the mother's womb, may be this duck is not an exception of such faboos .the answer lies with the genetist,embyolosist and the spiritualist ,to defend their views
  • # 6

    Anne Cazemier.

    Suppose to transplant the genes of aforementioned duckling into new breederlines. So we will have a whole new generation of fourlegged ducks.Must be commercially interesting, Four legged family ducks, with major legs for the parents and small legs for the children in a four person family.
  • # 7

    Amir Nilipour

    We do regular emriodiagnosis on thousands of unhatched fertile eggs and pips. The genetic deformitities including 2 headed chicks, 3 legged or 4 legged chicks and some other 15 deformities can happen in the large population that we work. Most recently we grow out a 4 legged broiler all the way to processing plant. In our data 0.10 of hactch loss is due to these different deformities. But for the general population raises much interst and possibe fear.
  • # 8

    Jim

    This condition is simply a "posterior duplication" similar to conjoined twins in mammals. This morphology is more common that most may think. The condition is increased by rough handling of eggs prior to setting. When breaking out late term unhatched eggs you will find a low but consistant percentage of embryos with this condition, some will hatch. The other side of the story is the "anterior duplication" (two heads) which also occurs with low but consistant regularity, but these chicks virtually never hatch.
  • # 9

    dr nagy

    This is not the only ducklings with developmental disorder in the history of nature. This is a special joke of the nature, as special as the way of thinking of jurnalists. Think on the AI scandal
  • # 10

    Mahdi Erahimi

    in my opinion this event is not very good sign.because mutation cause by any motant factor and one of moutant factor is chemical material that we use on poultry farm.
  • # 11

    davifo

    You can see this "strange behavior" almost anywhere, not only with ducks but poultry too. Considering this for any investigation that ends with four-legged ducks in a mass production, is an ethical concern...
  • # 12

    Dr.Abdul A.H.Alkhazraji

    I see it's kind of malformation just
  • # 13

    Leonard J.J.Barroba

    Dear Friend's

    This I would say is a creation of nature it has nothing to do with the genetic engineering or any kind of breeding,it even accours in humans at birth time.I would say that such kind of birds and animals should be marked as priorirt and a great encouragement should be given to the owner or the keeper in handeling such an animal it is a nature from God Almighty.

    Regards.
    Leonard J.J.Barroba
    Zonal Territory Manager of Venture Poultry Pakistan
  • # 14

    Memon Azizullah // sunday 18 March 2007

    Well,this act only is in power of God(Almighty Allah),
    Every thing created by the God but this is amazing in my knowledge. God is only who change or replace any thing in this world. preserve it foe the meusuem and for breeding purpose.
  • # 15

    Rachel

    Wiebe, I agree with you that it is amazing to see how the views of different people can be so vast... Some people think of money and profits. In countries where consumers like the legs, profits are doubled (1 chicken, twice as many legs) - a new breeding business venture perhaps. Other views include ethical or religious concerns, or perhaps a mere genetic mishap, either to be worshiped or treated as a 'monster'. But, what is the outcome of this? Will something happen or is it merely something to talk about and then forget?? Reading the featherless article in World Poultry certainly makes makes me wonder...???
  • # 16

    Patricia Neskavich

    Once again, your enterprise and all others like it are a blight on the earth and an insult to God and humanity. Your cruelty and greed know no bounds.I would ask God to have mercy on your souls but you dont have any.
  • # 17

    Angela Thomas

    Nature will get its revenge on you evil plunderers of Gods beautiful creatures.It is already starting with the bird flu menace which you have brought on yourselves with your cruelty and greed. I hope you remember this every time you eat the remains of a tortured and murdered bird or any other animal.

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