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Monday, 22 December 2014

Magnificent Sayaguesa in the Veluwe

There is a herd of Sayaguesa grazing in the Planken Wambuis, part of the Veluwe in Gelderland, Netherlands, that I mentioned on this times several times already. It is a really beautiful herd, and their looks are particularly good. 
In the comment sections of an earlier post, I was provided with a link to a video showing the herd. I really enjoyed it - their proportions are aurochs-like, the heads are elongated and the bulls are well-built. The horns are not bad, in some cows they actually face slightly inwards. 
The ABU got their latest Sayaguesa from there. What is also nice is that their sexual dichromatism is not as reduced as in many other Sayaguesa herds - as you see, many of the cows have brown shades on their trunk and do not have the sold black of the bulls. At 0:39 you see a cow with a light-brown coat, but I don't it is a pure Sayaguesa. It actually looks like a young Limia to me. 



I like the bulls in particular. They resemble the Taurus bull Lamarck from the Lippeaue a lot (which is not surprising since that one is half-Sayaguesa). If those cattle were the product of a "breeding-back" program, I'd probably yell joyfully how aurochs-like they are. The Sayaguesa at the Veluwe once again confirm my view that this breed is probably the most useful one currently used in "breeding-back" attempts. You get good proportions, size , skull, body shape and acceptable horns all in one. If their sexual dichromatism had the desired level, they would look really a lot like the aurochs already (and there are still red Sayaguesa cows). 

As far as I know the managers of the Veluwe herd do not have intentions to breed them for a more aurochs-like apparence. But it would be well-suited. Adding larger horns with a slightly better curvature and more size and slenderness would result in pretty complete aurochs imitations. I would use Chianina and well-horned Heck cattle, therefore creating something like "Taurus cattle 2.0". Why? Both are easily available, and Chianina is certainly the best choice for adding size and slenderness (and some of them even have good horn shapes). The only breed that has as large and useful horns as well-horned Heck cattle are Watussi, and Heck cattle are certainly better adapted to cold climate and they have a way better colour and no fleshy hump and that huge dewlap. 


Next post: A collection of photos of a lot of aurochs material by Markus Bühler. 


5 comments:

  1. Impressive animals indeed. One small correction though: Not in NP Hoge Veluwe, but in neighbouring NP Planken Wambuis. Not yet at least...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Daniel,

    I visited the herd many times. Sayaguesa are great cattle and this bull on the photo was the best I saw. But I also saw cows with white udders or white spots, drooping horns and even worse; the biggest/oldest cows are bigger than the biggest bulls. So sexual dimorphism is reduced to say the least.
    A very good breed, but not better or worse than other selected primitive breeds.
    Peter van Geneijgen, the herd owner, bought Sayaguesa cattle for himself and the NABU and also bought cows which were partly (25 and in 2 cases 50 percent) Alistana Sanabresa cattle. There are no Limia in that herd. The reddish cows, and also that red Sayaguesa cow of the NABU, are partly Alistana Sanabresa.

    Best wishes,

    Henri

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Daniel, that bull on the photo is the best bull i saw in that herd that day. I have visited that herd many times.
    There are cows with white udders, white spots and drooping horns. The two oldest cows are bigger than the biggest bulls, so sexual dimorphism is very much reduced to say the least.
    Sayaguesa is a very good breed for an Auroch backbreeding attempt, but not better or worse than other selected primitive cattle breeds.
    The owner, Peter van Geneijgen, has imported Sayaguesa cattle for himself and the NABU. All reddish cows have 25 or sometimes 50 percent Alistana Sanabresa influence. That reddish Sayaguesa cow of the NABU therefore has Alistana Sanabresa bred in as well.
    There are no Limia in that herd.

    Best wishes,

    Henri

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Daniel, that bull on the photo is the best bull i saw in that herd that day. I have visited that herd many times.
    There are cows with white udders, white spots and drooping horns. The two oldest cows are bigger than the biggest bulls, so sexual dimorphism is very much reduced to say the least.
    Sayaguesa is a very good breed for an Auroch backbreeding attempt, but not better or worse than other selected primitive cattle breeds.
    The owner, Peter van Geneijgen, has imported Sayaguesa cattle for himself and the NABU. All reddish cows have 25 or sometimes 50 percent Alistana Sanabresa influence. That reddish Sayaguesa cow of the NABU therefore has Alistana Sanabresa bred in as well.
    There are no Limia in that herd.

    Best wishes,

    Henri

    ReplyDelete