Sunday, 2 February 2014

Heck cattle outside Germany, Pt. II: The Netherlands

In the early 1980s,  Dutch nature foundations started to buy Heck cattle from Germany on large-scale to use them for conservation purposes in reserves. As I outlined in an earlier post, breeders tended to sell the less-satisfying animals or calves (making it impossible to judge whether it is a useful animal or not), what is understandable. This is the reason why many contemporary Dutch Heck cattle show a greyish, steppe-cattle like colour or upright straight or lyre-shaped horns. Seemingly also better animals were imported from Germany later on, and other populations underwent a dedomestication process to a certain extent. The most remarkable Dutch Heck cattle population is of course that at the Oostvaardersplassen, which has been treated in several other posts already (see below), so I will leave it aside here.

For me, the most interesting Ducht populations except Oostvaardersplassen are those at Slikken van Flakkee and Hellegatsplaten. Just like their large sister herd, they underwent little interference from man during the last 20 years and bred freely. Because of that, they developed a rather slender and strong body and a good ability to survive those winters. The horns are still quite Steppe cattle-like and there are still grayish individuals, and some have a weird body shape (heavy belly, “hanging” spine), but there are also some really slender and muscular cattle with a good colour and a hump. They surely are not large and of normal Heck cattle size. The cattle at Slikken van Flakkee share the reserve with Fjord horses (rarely seen in grazing projects), and on several photos both appear to have the same size.


Slikken van Flakkee:

On this video, you see some Hecks at S. v. Flakkee, and you see that they have a nice slender body and a good colour and that they move swift, just like those french Heck cattle (horns and size still aren’t good).

The two videos below show impressive fights between bulls (I've hardly ever seen videos fighting semi-feral bulls): 

(this is the more impressing video, but blogger doesn't find it on youtube…)

There are usual and unimpressing Heck cattle in Dutch grazing projects as well of course. One example are those at Kempen~Broek, neighboring a Tauros herd (think this is why they are erroneously called “Taurossen” sometimes). Usual Heck features, not really worth to go much into.
However, additional Hecks that were released there a while ago look better and Taurus-influenced: 

In Planken Wambuis there seemingly are Taurus-influenced Heck cattle too: 

For posts on the Oostvaardersplassen population see here:


  1. Next time I appriciate it when you mention the source of the photo of my blog you placed here.....

    1. I am sorry! I'll make an extra post to link at your blog and mention where I posted your photos. BTW I think it's great that you provide us with all those photos, you are the only rich source for photo material of the Tauros cattle. I wish would live there and could visit them as often as you do.
      Sorry again.

    2. apology accepted Daniel.
      Sometimes its neccesary to remind people of rules such as copyright
      Fine that you link my blog. Ik hope people will react and give response, because I'm but a layman. So sometimes I don"t know if it is al correct whast zi write.

      greetings GeervanneSmeed