KOLKATA, India When dozens of chickens went
missing from a remote West Bengal village, everyone blamed the
But Ajit Ghosh, the owner of the missing chickens,
eventually solved the puzzle when he caught his cow -- a sacred
animal for the Hindu family -- gobbling up several of them at
"We were shocked to see our calf eating chickens alive,"
Ghosh told Reuters by phone from Chandpur village, about 240 km
(150 miles) northwest of capital Kolkata.
The family decided to stand guard at night on Monday at the
cow shed which also served as a hen coop, after 48 chickens
went missing in a month.
"Instead of the dogs, we watched in horror as the calf,
whom we had fondly named Lal, sneak to the coop and grab the
little ones with the precision of a jungle cat," Gour Ghosh,
his brother, said.
Local television pictures showed the cow grabbing and
eating a chicken in seconds and a vet confirmed the case.
"We think lack of vital minerals in the body is causing
this behaviour. We have taken a look and have asked doctors to
look into the case immediately," Mihir Satpathy, a district
veterinary officer, said by phone.
"This strange behaviour is possible in some exceptional
cases," Satpathy said.
Hundreds of villagers flocked to Chandpur on Wednesday to
catch a glimpse of Lal, enjoying his bundle of green grass for
"The local vets said the cow was probably suffering from a
disease but others said Lal was a tiger in his previous birth,"