A cow was born with a mutant fifth leg on its back

The extra limb is very thin (Picture: AsiaWire)

A breeder insisted his cow is not a ‘freak’ after it was born with an extra leg extending over its back.

The dairy cow, which has a thin appendage growing from the middle of its spine, has become a celebrity on social media in China as people share photos.

It was due to be put down over its deformity, as no farmers wanted to buy it in case it was sickly and died soon afterwards.

But owner Chen Mingguo stepped in to rescue it after neighbours and acquaintances were called to look at it.

Chen decided to bring the calf home because he was ‘curious’, and he has been happy to see the animal mature into an adult without any issue.

A cow was born with a mutant fifth leg on its back

It was going to be put down (Picture: AsiaWire)

It was born in Qinglong County, in south-western China’s Guizhou Province.

Huang Weiquan, a local breeder, said the cow is not really deformed or a mutant as many believe, but simply the only survivor in what was once a pair of twins.

He explained: ‘The twin egg did not separate properly during fertilisation, so it resulted in the extra leg growing on the back.

‘It’s not a ‘freak’.’

The very thin fifth leg does not appear to have developed over the months, and local agricultural experts said they do not expect it to affect the animal’s well-being.