Farmer Um Oeung, 46, said his grandson Tha Sophat has been suckling from the cow for a month since his parents left to find work in Thailand. The family’s home was washed away last year in a severe storm.
The family lives in a remote village, Nokor Pheas, in Angkor Chum district of Siem Reap province – about 314km from the capital Phnom Penh.
Oeung said his grandson became sick after not receiving his mother’s breast milk. He began suckling from the cow after seeing a calf do so.
“One day I went to pick up the grass to feed my cows and he came with me. When he saw the calf was taking milk from its mother, he started to walk closer to the cow. I shouted to him to be careful that the cow might step on you.
“He stopped, but kept smiling at the cow. I went back to picking up grass for a while and when I turned back to him, I saw he he’d grabbed the cow’s udder, and was standing alongside the cow. I dropped what I was doing and went to pull him away, but he cried.
“I asked him ‘Why did you cry? Do you want to become a cow?’ Then he went back to suckling the milk when I released him.”
Oeung added that he wants his grandson to stop suckling from the cow because the villagers are teasing him and he’s afraid it will affect the boy when he gets older.
“I personally want him to stop suckling milk from the cow. Our neighbors call him ‘cow boy’, and if that continues, when he grows up, I’m afraid he will be ashamed and will do naughty things and fight them.”
Still, villagers who have never seen such a sight say they can’t help but find humor in it.
Oeung said despite the teasing, his grandson is happy and healthy and his diarrhea appears to have gone away.