Saturday, 23 August 2014

New photos from Kempen~Broek

Ok, new is not entirely correct as these photos were published at in february this year (check out that blog, it has a lot of interesting photos and posts). But I think they might be new to a lot of people, so I post them here. 

Kempen~Broek is, as far as I understand based on the information I have, home to a number of Tauros herds. Visit Theo van der Heijden's youtube channel for some high-quality videos from Kempen~Broek. The photos below show a herd of Maremmana cows covered by a young Maronesa bull and a herd of Limia cows (at least) covered by a Maremmana bull.  
I don't know the identity of the young bull at the left of the uppermost photo, but it is surely not the son of the young Maronesa bull. To be honest, the bulls actually look disappointing to me. The Maronesa's horns probably will continue to grow and the hump might develop a little more, but he will still be rather stubby - additionally to the undesired Maronesa features that were to be expected, the short face and small size. I am looking forward to see the crossbreeds with Maremmana. Some individuals might be slenderer and have better proportions, and a horn orientation intermediate between Maremmana and Maronesa would be the right angle, but I don't expect large animals to arise from that combination.
The Maremmana bull is really longish and the legs are short, he has the proportions and body shape of a Heck bull. I would be surprised if this bull reaches 150 cm at the withers because of the Limia cow next to him. The horn size is ok, but considering that he will produce offspring with Limia and Pajuna cows and subsequently with those crossbreeds, it will probably take its time until the horn size of the whole herd has reached the desired level. The skull is definitely to short, but at least not as compressed as in Maronesa. I used to think that large size, good body proportions and shape, large horns and a long snout are precious Maremmana characteristics, but after all the photos and videos I recently saw I start to doubt that. 
All in all I think that it would be too optimistic to expect TaurOs cattle that surpass current Taurus cattle within the next ten or more years, because both breeds/projects have their pro's and con's and, in sum, many of the founding individuals of the Tauros Project look as good as many current Taurus cattle (watch this promotion video, you see a lot of very nice animals there). But I fear it won't be easy for TaurOs to achieve traits like really large size and sufficiently large horns without having breeds that have these traits in a very prominent way (like Chianina for size, or Watussi or large-horned Heck cattle for the horns). 

The fact that a number of the founding individuals in TaurOs disappointed me is not meant as a critique, that would be unfair. I know it is very difficult to track down the best individuals and if you find them you still have to hope they are for sale and then try to export them. It's not easy, so it is not surprising that some individuals used in an aurochs projects do not have all the desirable features present in their breed. 


  1. I agree with all your observations.

    Probably that young Maronesa bull, is the bull calf that arrived in the Netherlands last year (at least, the only male that I saw in the pictures that were released, was a calf).
    If so, he´s the son of one of the Maronesa cows that were selected by the TaurOs Programme and likely just was imported, because of legislation, etc...

    Though he must still have a lot of growth to do, he looks stubby indeed.

    I think that TaurOs Programme should show us more pictures of their animals, by the way.

    1. I think so too. It would be nice if they'd present a comprehensive gallery of their cattle or something, also with the identity of the crossbreeds. There must be a lot first-generation crosses now that we don't know, and probably also second-generation. The advantage that I had at the Lippeaue is that I was provided with a list showing the identity and breed combination of all the individuals in the herd and their ear mark number, so I just had to look at this number if visible on my photos and I knew perfectly what animal it was.

      The sad thing is that TaurOs doesn't have the time to provide rigorous information on their crossbreeds, if I had the same contacts and opportunities to that project I did the same as with the Taurus cattle at Lippeaue. I would love it, I'm sure there is a lot to see there.

    2. I advise you to take a look at and for the animals in The Tauros-proj ect in Kempen~Brook look at:

    3. Thank you! I knew several photos already, but many were new to me. I wish i could visit those regions just like the Lippeaue.

  2. I don't know where else to bring this up but I think you mentioned when you said you were going to reduce output on this site that you were going to look at different species for back breeding. What about breeding Irish elk, Megaloceros giganteus, from fallow deer? I know it might sound farfetched but over the last ten years it was discovered that fallow deer were closely related to Megaloceros, so much so that apart from the problem of size I believe that they could interbreed. I read another study where the skeletal structure of fallow deer was found to be over-engineered for their size and that they are descended from a larger sized animal. Of course it would take a long time to increase their size but maybe in future help could be received from DNA from fossil bones; I live just a few miles from the main Megaloceros fossil site in Ireland. It would be interesting to see herds of back bred Irish elk mixing with other wild and back bred animals

    1. Sorry, but that's illusion - you can't breed a whole species out of a completely different, distantly related species. You would get no diagnostic genes of Megaloceros, and it would probably take ages selective breeding achieves large fallow deer with wide-ranging antlers, and even then the similarity is only vague and superficial. Just that Fallow deer may be the closest living relative of Megaloceros it doesn't mean both are close relatives. Perhaps, but only perhaps, if Megaloceros could be cloned and could interbreed (fertile!) with Fallow deer, the it could be used to build up a population by hybridization and backcrossing and so on, but I don't know if that actually works.