AL AIN // Nasser Al Alwi knew pretty much what to expect from his Dh3,000 prize billy goat: good breeding quality, an inquisitive and intelligent nature, and about 15 years of productive life.
What he did not expect, however, was milk.
So no one was more surprised than Mr Al Alwi when his billy goat sprouted two udders and started producing what appears to be top-quality goats’ milk.
With commendable caution in the light of what would be a veterinary miracle, the Emirati farmer has not yet tasted the product. “We are waiting for the lab test results to make sure the milk is of good quality and fit for human consumption and whether it could be used for medicinal purposes,” he said.
Mr Al Alwi bought the animal for breeding three years ago at a livestock fair. It has been one of his farm’s best-breeding male goats.
Mr Al Alwi said he could not explain the phenomenon and noted that, with the exception of its udders, the goat retains all of its male physiological characteristics.
He told Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National, that the animal was not for sale "even for ten times the price" he paid until it can be determined whether its milk is safe to consume.
Dr Ulrich Wernery, director of the central veterinary laboratory in Dubai, said it was impossible for a male goat to produce milk.
“He is producing something else - but it is not milk,” he said. “It is impossible, absolutely impossible. Because it is a male that is why. There are female organs and then there are male organs.
“From my opinion it is ridiculous.”
Dr Renata Derosayro, a vet at the Al Ain branch of the British Veterinary Clinic, was equally sceptical.
“An adult male goat? This is not possible,” she said. “Perhaps he has invested in some sort of hormonal treatment to allow the development of an udder but otherwise no - a male goat, unless by a miracle, should not be able to suddenly develop an udder.”
However, a similar incident occurred in 2009 when another Emirati farmer, Khalifa Al Nuaimi, discovered one of his prize male goats had started to produce milk. The animal’s male organs were said to have been pushed back by the udder, described as “big and bulky”.
Mr Al Nuaimi, whose farm was in Masakin, a suburb of Al Ain, obtained half a litre of good-quality milk from the goat.