Saturday, 3 February 2018

Status report of the Auerrind project January 2018

Claus Kropp has just published a status report for the Auerrind project for January 2018 on I am going to give a quick summary in English here. 


A Watussi cow had to be slaughtered because of an injury, and the Chianina-Watussi herd has been dissolved for now, preliminary. It is unclear whether they want to continue using Watussi in the project because they showed to not be very robust (the same has been reported by Istvan Santor from Hortobagy, where pure Watussi are used for Taurus cattle). 
The beautiful Sayaguesa bull Leo has successfully inseminated the three Chianina cows which are pregnant now; this means that three more Sayaguesa x Chianina will be born this year, which I am looking forward to very much. 
The Chianina cow Lola from the Lippeaue has been purchased and arrived in Lorsch in Dezember. She is pregnant from a Taurus bull. 


Three more Sayaguesa x Hungarian Grey calves have been born; all of them male, one dead and two healthy. There is one heifer of this combination already, so in a few years we are able to see the first F2 of this combination. 


The three Sayaguesa cows are hoped to be pregnant from the Chianina bull Bruno and might calve this year. This means that in a few years, plenty of F2 of this combination are possible, some of which might be of very good quality. 


The Sayaguesa bull Takkie and the three Maremmana cows are about to be transported to the new breeding location. 


A new grazing area is about to be created. It is not clear yet whether they want to move one of the existing breeding groups there or set up a completely new one. 

Conference "The aurochs - breeding-back and natural grazing for a wilder future?" 

The aurochs conference has been held on Saturday the 27.1.2018 and it was fruitful. Representatives of the three major aurochs projects (Taurus, Tauros and Auerrind) discussed at one table for the first time and are optimistic for the future. 
Further information on the conference is going to be published. 

A 3D-printed model of an aurochs bull was presented. I think it is very anatomically correct, except that looking at skeletons of adult aurochs bulls the feet and ribcage of the model might be a bit too slim for a grown aurochs bull. I do see some similarities with my aurochs bull model (see here), and I remember that I was asked per mail about a year ago about the possibility to 3D-copy it to make a small maquette. 

© Auerrindprojekt


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  2. I was at the conference and agree it was very fruitful. Apart from the people in charge of the 3 main auerochs backbreeding projects, there was also Wouter Helmer, a representative of rewilding Europe. The role of REWILDING EUROPE for the TAUROS PROJECT should not be underestimated, since they provide the areas outside the Netherlands for the TAUROS cattle. This year they plan to bring additional Tauros cattle to the Rewilding Area in Spain.

  3. It makes me extremely sad to hear about the watussi cattle. The watussi x chianina was the cross I was the most looking forward to. I really hope they do not give up on the breed. I think that the hybrid offspring would be more robust that the parents and so the issues they are having are just temporary. Where else will horns of impressive size and volume come from?

    1. I understand your regrets since the Watussis have really mighty horns. However it could be necessary to proceed without them, first because it seems to be very difficult to obtain them apart from the inbred and week animals in Europe, let alone other tradeoffs (zebuine influence and low resistance against cold). As I pointed out in my facebook comment (Auerochs Backbreeding project Lauresham) there are other options to influence the breeding of the Auerrind population:"Looking for an alternative cattle breed to replace the Watussis could also be seen as a new chance to further improve the animals. Texas Longhorn or Barrosa could be useful to improve horn length and size. I also wrote a comment on the Auerrind-homepage regarding that. But I have also another idea: What about using heckrindcattle of the Wörth-line. Their horns are far better than that of the average Heckcattle, a lot of them have almost perfect Auerochslike horns regarding size, lengh and shape,"

    2. I am not a fan of Barrosa. They are comparably small, short-legged and short-snouted, more so than Heck cattle, while their horn dimensions are not always that impressing. Surely large compared to other Iberian breed, but considering that it is a quantitative trait, one would need a breed with larger and thicker horns to compensate the small horns of other breeds in the projects used. The "exaggerated" horn size of Watussi, some Texas Longhorn and Wörth-lineage Heck cattle would probably prove way more useful.

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  5. Why aren't more of the backbreeding programs making use of artificial insemination? That seems like it would be a cost effective way to start a herd of Watusi or Texas Longhorn crosses quickly. Is it difficult to import semen?