Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Heck bull at Lembruch, Germany

I have several posts in preparation at the moment, but for today, I have a short post. It is about a Heck bull I found recently on the web, and I think he is interesting for a number of reasons. It is or was (the article is from 2014, so I do not know if it is up to date) the breeding bull of a herd at Lembruch, Germany, owned by the breeder Martin Kockmeyer. At first I want to present some photos of the bull (photos owned by the Presse-Bild-Agentur Nokem Martin Kemper, I got them from this article): 
First of all, the upper two photos show nicely how Heck cattle is a mosaic of its founding breeds: the body and skull shape of a Highland bull (not desirable from an "aurochs point of view"), the colour of a Werdenfelser or Corsican bull, the horns very reminiscent of Watussi. 
Secondly, the bull's name is "Arak", thus I suspect he might be from the Wörth lineage, which is/was remarkable for being the only closed breeding line within Heck cattle and having established large, thick, comparably well-curved horns. The bull also resembles those of the lineage, like "Albatross" or "Aretto" quite well. It is always good to see bulls from that lineage being breeding bulls on other herd, as it means that they are spreading the genetic make-up for good horns among the population. As it is apparent from the photos, the bull is seemingly not very large, which is unfortunately true of many un-crossed Heck bulls. 

On the VFA's sale site, there is currently a bull for sale from the same herd, named "Delika", born in 2014. The horns are of a very useful dimension and curvature, it might be a son of Arak: 


  1. Hey Daniel,

    You might be interested to know that the heck herd at Slikken van Flakkee in the Netherlands has been a closed herd too since they were introduced to the reserve in 1980. I believe the founding herd consisted of 26 animals and it has grown to around 100/125 animals now. The person in Charge of the herd does for a great part select for aurochs like characteristics which is visible in how much the herd has improved now when you look back at photo's of the founding animals. there is a genetcic record of each one of the animals and how closely or not they are inbred. This information is all at hand when they select animals that need to leave the herd. Offspring of this herd was part of the founding herd for Oostvaardersplassen.

    greetings, Jeff

    1. Hi, thanks, yes, I know the herd at Slikken van Flakkee and I think its very interesting, very similar to the herd at OVP. I should do a post on that too one day. Thanks for reminding!

    2. Indeed, it is a very interesting herd. Looks wise much better developed than the herd at Oostvaardersplassen in my opinion. I know the manager of the reserve and she has an extensive photo collection of the animals. There is also a second herd of about 80 animals at Hellegatsplaten nature reseve also managed by her. But all breeding bulls have been removed. It's just females and oxen now. I can put you in contact with the herdmanager if you like. Just let me know.

    3. Yes that would be very helpful for me, thank you!

  2. do you have an email that I could contact you on?