Sunday, August 8, 2004

Farm's baby water buffalo prefers to nurse from goat

'That's not my baby'

Natalie Morales
Enquirer staff writer

CALIFORNIA, Ky. - Noah's Ark Farm and Petting Zoo features baby sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and now even a baby water buffalo.

Buffy the water buffalo, only 3 weeks old, is not only a rarity at the petting zoo at 3269 Koehler Road because she's a buffalo, but also because she feeds from two mother goats.

Buffy would not eat for five days after she arrived at the farm, owner Wanda Wanner said. After trying numerous types of bottles, Wanner brought mother goats, which had just had babies, to feed Buffy.

"At first, (the goats) would look at her a little strange like, 'That's not my baby.' But now they don't mind," she said.

Twice a day, the goats climb up on a couch in the barn and let Buffy feed. Wanner said she and her husband, Buddy Teke, will continue using the goats for milk over the next few weeks while Buffy learns to eat solid foods.

Though Buffy now resembles a baby cow, by the time she is 3 years old, she will grow full-length horns, Teke said. Buffy will also shed her hair and have just skin by next summer.

Wanda and Teke opened the petting zoo on a whim in 1999, after a friend told them they had so many pets they might as well start a zoo. Teke bought Buffy from an exotic animal dealer in Ohio for $300 just to keep things interesting on the farm, which is also home to Texas longhorns, emus and llamas.

Teke said he wants to eventually add a yak.

Water buffalo

Named for its ability to work on waterlogged land and in humid climates.

Domesticated in Asia; once roamed central and western North America.

Stands as tall as 5 feet 6 inches; up to 9 feet long; and can weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

A few dozen wild herds remain worldwide.

Source: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia.



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