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06 September 2006
It looks like an experiment gone wrong but the owner of a four-legged chicken denies fowl play.
Ryan Dickey, 10, found the four-legged wonder legging it around an incubator at his Te Uku home on Monday.
Mum, Marlene, breeds 14 types of chickens and said it was the first time she'd seen one hatch with four legs.
The little clucker is a Barnevelder chicken, a Dutch breed, and Mrs Dickey said other lesser legged chicks had accepted it without a problem.
"He looks really robust and strong, he's good, he's just cruising along."
The chick uses its bottom two legs to walk on.
She had noticed nothing out of the ordinary with the rooster and hen leading up to the lay and neither appeared to be feeling particularly clucky yesterday, she said.
A battery of researchers have found four-legged chickens are not unheard of but Poultry Industry Association executive director Mike Brooks said they were as rare as hens' teeth and were something he had heard of but never seen.
Other four-legged chickens had been reported in Romania and Saudi Arabia.
Hamilton vet Keith Houston said in the Dickey's chick case, stem cells in the egg had divided into four instead of two, meaning an extra pair of legs.
The family intend keeping the chicken as a pet and are considering naming it Jack-peg-a-leg.
Poultry Industry Association executive director Mike Brooks said they were as rare as hens' teeth and were something he had heard of but never seen.