It has been long ago since my last post. The reason behind that is that I had a busy semester at university, but now the summer has started and I have some time for the blog and artworks. At the moment I am working on two new aurochs models made from polymer clay, since I sold my first ones to the Alpenzoo Innsbruck. I hope that my new models, again male and female and to same scale, will be more artistically refined and more anatomically correct.
The Auerrind Project has started a new breeding herd in Einhausen, Germany, containing two Hungarian Grey cows plus a young Sayaguesa bull named Johnny. One young H. Grey cow will follow next year, as much the two Maremmana cows.
It is likely that Johnny will become a very useful breeding bull, since he is from the herd of Peter van Geneijgen which has rather beautiful animals (see this post on the Auerrindprojekt's webpage for pictures), and the other Sayaguesa the Auerrind Project purchased from that herd look very good as well. Unless I am wrong, part of the Sayaguesa stock of the Tauros Project and the Lippeaue are of Peter van Geneijgen's stock too.
Johnny will probably cover the cows this summer, so the first calves of this combination should be born in spring 2017.
What can we expect from the combination Sayaguesa x Grey/Maremmana? The results are surely going to be well-suited ecologically with an effective winter fur, because Sayaguesa does well in German winters at least and Grey cattle are adapted to the harsh conditions of the Puszta and other Eastern European landscapes. Sayaguesa is a comparably large breed, and Grey cattle medium-sized, therefore the cross results will be somewhere in between (actually they will vary along this spectrum), so most of the results should become larger than Heck cattle. Stature and body shape should be good as well. The fur colour will probably have the usual spectrum we have in breeding back herds: some individuals show a diluted colour, others do not, some have sexual dichromatism to a varying degree, others do not. I cannot predict what type will be predominant. The horns will probably show a size range between what we see in the pure breeds. Since truly inwards-curving horn tips are rare in Sayaguesa, especially in cows, most cows will probably have more or less outwards-facing horn tips. I am looking forward to see the first cross results of the Auerrind Project.
A while ago I did some coloured sketches illustrating my thoughts on what early Auerrind crosses might look like. They are just guesses that show the countless combinations of traits that could be possible.
The uppermost drawing is what I think a 75% Watussi and 25% Chianina bull might look like, or a more progressed animal with a high Watussi portion. I cannot predict how dark bulls of that combinations might get, so I took dark Watussi bulls as a reference. The next drawing is a prognosis for a first generation Watussi x Chianina cow. I used a Grey x Watussi cow from Hortobagy and a half-Chianina bull from the Lippeaue as a reference. Perhaps the horn size is a bit too optimistic. The third picture is my prognosis for a first generation Sayaguesa x Grey cattle bull. I used pure bulls of both breeds as a reference and theorized that Grey cattle would cause a saddle but not completely remove all the red pigment from the fur, but there are many possibilities. I did not illustrate a cow of that combination, because I think that many existing Taurus and Tauros cows are perfect models for what a cross of Grey cattle and Sayaguesa might look like. The lowermost drawing shows what I imagine a more progressed Chianina-Watussi mix would be, or maybe a "true" F2.
Of course dozens of such prognoses and trait combinations are possible, ranging from superior animals to "oddities", so my sketches purely arbitrary, but maybe some of the future Auerrind animals might resemble one or two of those.
In any case, I am very much looking forward to seeing how all these combinations will work out.