Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Auerrind update

It has been long ago that I published my last post, and a lot happened. Especially the Auerrind project had some important achievements in the meantime: 

Cooperation between the Auerrind project and the Stichting Taurus 

Claus Kropp announced in April 2018 that the Auerrind project and the Stichting Taurus, which is responsible for the Tauros programme, are going to cooperate. The cooperation will include: 
- Exchange of suitable crossbred individuals 
- Sharing of research results 
- Conservation of the founding breeds 

Especially the exchange of suitable crossbred individuals sounds promising and it could result in a mutual benefit for both projects. The Tauros Project could finally get genes for truly large body size or horn size by acquiring Chianina or Watussi influenced Auerrind individuals, and the Auerrind project could get genes for decently inwards-facing horns via Maronesa-influenced Tauros individuals. 
I see the exchange of individuals as a middle-term perspective, as both projects are in a comparably early phase of crossbreeding yet. 

Incorporation of the Auerrind project into Rewilding Europe 

In May 2018 it was announced that the Auerrind project is going to join the network of Rewilding Europe. This will probably greatly help the project to acquire more suitable areas for their herds and increase volume of the project. 

New photos of the first-generation offspring 

Sayaguesa x Chianina calves (Photo © G. Pfirsching, published on
The herd in Lorsch has three healthy Sayaguesa x Chianina calves, two cows and one male. I think this is magnificent; as both the Chianina and Sayaguesa of the Auerrind project are of excellent physique and have good horn shapes, true F2 of this combination have the potential to result in very large, well-shaped and correctly coloured animals with good (albeit not very large) horns. 
Sayaguesa x Maremmana bull calf ©
The Sayaguesa x Maremmana bull calf seems to develop a wildtype colouration, it will be interesting to see how its horns are going to get. 

Maremmana x Watussi cow published by © Claus Kropp on Facebook
The young Maremmana x Watussi cow has a perfect, shiny reddish aurochs colouration. The horns will probably end up in an upright position because of the breed combination, but that can be fixed in future generations. It is interesting how the combination of the allele(s) for the wildtype distribution of the black pigment, contributed by Maremmana, and those for the production of red pigment, contributed from Watussi, resulted in a perfect wildtype colour phenotype. 
Sayaguesa x Hungarian Grey cow published by © Claus Kropp on Facebook
The young Sayaguesa x Hungarian Grey cow is now old enough to show its final colouration and also how its horns will get. All in all it resembles me of some Tauros and Taurus cows, which is what I predicted because of the breed combination. It is interesting that the alleles for red pigmentation of Sayaguesa are seemingly less dominant than those of Watussi, as also the grown Sayaguesa x Chianina cows show a reduced red pigmentation. 
Sayaguesa x Watussi next to a young Cachena bull © Claus Kropp
The Sayaguesa x Watussi bull now shows its final coloration and it is perfectly aurochs-like. Body and head shape seem to reveal the Watussi influence but it has no fleshy hump and the dewlap is not that long. It will be very interesting to see it fully grown, especially because of the horns. Actually, this is the offspring that I was most excited on because I have the suspicion that this bull bred to the three Sayaguesa again might result, with a bit of luck, in one of the best breeding-back individuals born yet in terms of overall impression. This is for the simple fact that the Sayaguesa of the project are very, very good and a considerable increase of horn volume would turn them into animals pretty close to the goal. Thus I really hope the project gives 75% Sayaguesa 25% Watussi a try. 

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