BRITISH WHITE CATTLE
The British White Cattle Breed
has much to offer the cattle producer in terms of both economics and
genuine pleasure in the care-taking of this gentle, beautiful,
ancient and immortalized breed. British White cattle embody all traits of economic
importance to cattle producers -- excellent fertility, hardiness to disease, calving ease, maternal instincts,
abundant milk, and a
long-lived calving life. Their white hides give them superior
heat tolerance and their black hooves are sound and sturdy.
the most distinguishing economic trait of the British White cattle
breed is their unusually curious and docile nature, well represented
by the girls
pictured just below who had to have a look at what I was doing
sitting on the ground in their space. Visitors to
British White herds often comment that their calm demeanor is surely
due to the "time we must spend with them".
of this very special, uniquely beautiful, ancient breed know
different. Their gentleness begins before birth -- it is inherent in
their genetic make-up. From almost the day of a calf's birth,
breeders of British White cattle can many times judge the likely temperament of
their calves, and the range is generally from at a minimum no flight
zone to the maximum temperament of one so gentle and curious they come
to you in the pasture.
does a gentle nature translate into one of economic importance to a
cattle producer? Every scientific research report that one comes
upon studying the relationship between docile calves in the feedlot to
carcass tenderness, results in the conclusion that the calmer the feeder calf the more
tender the carcass.
below is a half blood female who was sired by a British White
bull and whose dam is a commercial black cow who won't let you
approach at all. This heifer on the other hand, is much calmer
with a flight zone of a foot or less, and will sometimes let you pat
her on the head.
important point to be made here is that in contrast to their generally
docile nature with humans, they will both singly and as a group make
swift and effective attack on predators such as coyotes and buzzards
that threaten their calves; or even your blind, geriatric dog if he
picks his way across a cattle guard in search of you and instead
walks straight into a calf newly born to a heifer. They seem to have the ability to better
judge what is a threat to them and their youngsters above that of other
breeds; and humans are pretty much not perceived as threatening.
British White herds don't scatter on the approach of strange humans,
most will even remain lying down and disinterested.
Of great economic importance to cattle
producers is the actual carcass quality coming out of the Feedlot.
Besides the established correlation between docility and carcass
tenderness mentioned above -- today there is DNA testing readily available to
help identify animals that will most likely produce calves with
superior carcass traits for tenderness and marbling.
DNA testing accomplished in 2006 and 2007
approximately 80% of the herd of J. West Cattle Co. reflected the
results outlined below. Since then a sampling of 35 anchor
cattle in the herd were
tested for the new Feed Efficiency genetic
marker, and the results were excellent, with the average animal
carrying 6 of the 8 markers for Feed Efficiency, including two
superior females with 8 of 8 markers for Feed Efficiency.
|100% are carriers of the T1/Calpistatin
gene for Carcass Tenderness, and of those . . .|
Homozygous for T1 (have two copies of the T1 gene, and thus will
always pass on at a minimum ONE copy of the gene to their calves)
Heterozygous for the T2 Tenderness gene.|
|80% are carriers of the T3/Calpain gene for
Carcass Tenderness, and of those . . .|
|27% are Homozygous for the T3/Calpain
Tenderness gene. |
of this British White herd are heterozygous for the
Carcass Marbling gene
identified as QG1 with GeneStar, . . . |
|8% are Homozygous for the QG1 Carcass
Heterozygous for the QG3 Carcass Marbling gene,|
carriers of the QG4 Carcass Marbling gene, and of those . . .|
Heterozygous for the QG4, and 8% are
Homozygous for the QG4 Marbling gene.|
the important economic traits of the British White breed, there is
another trait that is unmatched by any other breed -- their
extraordinarily striking beauty, and of course I realize that is a
matter of personal opinion. British White Cattle are
predominantly white with black points. Often, there are
scattered spots of black along their sides, and typically this is
accompanied by very strong color points about the nose, eyes, ears,
teats, and lower front legs, which are the basic black color points
expected in the breed.
Their unique beauty is
always a source of comment by visitors, as is their calm demeanor --
both traits that most likely inspired and perpetuated
lore and legend that immortalized the British White 'milk white cow'
and predate the written word.
Much of the ancient lore and legend makes reference to
the occurrence of the red-pointed calf that is
born in otherwise black-pointed herds; this occurs in British White
herds today as in ancient days and is always one of surprise and
remark. As well, a small percentage of calves are born with a
color-sided line-backed pattern,
and this has occurred throughout both the horned and polled white park
cattle's documented history. See
Breed History for additional
information on their ancient history in the British Isles.
The British White cattle breed has much to offer the cattle producer
in terms of both economics and genuine pleasure in the care-taking of
this gentle, beautiful, ancient and immortalized breed.
Copyright @ January 3, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
Jimmie Lynn West, All Rights Reserved