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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
No kidding for Carla's lamb's tale
Carla Lane with lamb and goat
Is you is or is you ain't my baby?
She is white, woolly, and playful but there is one thing which Cilla is not - a goat.

The three-week-old gambolling ball of fluff is definitely a lamb - not at all remarkable if her mother were a ewe but a big surprise if, as seems to be the case, mum is an 18-year-old nanny goat called Molly.

Television scriptwriter, Carla Lane, who owns the animal sanctuary where the lamb was born, said she was "dumbfounded" when she realised the new arrival was not a kid.

Cilla the lamb
Vet has confirmed that Cilla is a lamb
"We looked to see if there was anything about it that was a goat but it is a lamb," she said.

"It has got the waggly tail, the tight curly coat, the little lamb's face, and the lamb's bleat which is different from a goat's bleat," said the animal campaigner, famous for writing hit TV series The Liver Birds and Bread.

"The vet came to see her and just shook his head and said 'That is a lamb'. There was nothing wrong with either of them - we just wanted confirmation."

Ms Lane said she named the lamb after Cilla Black who presents the TV show Surprise Surprise.

She added that she had "no idea" how the cross-breeding had happened. One theory was that it had taken place after Molly was placed in a field for a short while with some rams rescued from a market.

"We suspect our Sussex ram because he is a big, tough guy," she said.

Scientific doubt

But experts in animal physiology have expressed doubt that Cilla is indeed the offspring of Molly.

lamb and goat
Hello mum? Scientists think not
Dr Agnes Winter, head of the farm animals division of Liverpool University veterinary school, said: "It is physiologically impossible for a goat to give birth to a lamb.

"Either a sheep has given birth and a goat has mothered it or it is a goat's kid that looks like a lamb."

David Noakes, professor of veterinary obstetrics and diseases of reproduction in animals at London University, added that there was no scientific evidence available that lambs and goats had been known to successfully cross breed.

"It is well known that if you cross goats and sheep you will get fertilisation and the development of an embryo or an early foetus but invariably the embryo does not survive," he said.

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28 Dec 99 | Entertainment
Carla too busy to write
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