Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › Angus cross for Oxen?
- February 3, 2016 at 11:07 am #87526VinnieParticipant
As for my yearling, I finally put him into the horse pasture and he is happy being a lazy schmuck. He moos for me and wonders why we can’t spar anymore. But more importantly: I have the opportunity to buy a pair of Holstein/Angus calves. Holsteins I know are good for oxen, but I really want to make sure the Angus part isn’t going to make the calves mean like my Brahman. Do any of you know about the suitability of the Angus as a breed for oxen? How would you rate them on a scale of 1-10? I like the idea of getting a pair to train together.February 4, 2016 at 12:47 pm #87541Crabapple FarmParticipant
Individual animals don’t necessarily follow their breed tendencies for personality, so try to assess them as individuals as well as you can.
That said, Angus as a breed have had very little selection over the generations for tractability. So it is likely that one or both would end up being difficult.
An old timer, Mernie Clark, once told me to always look at a calf’s forehead whorl as an indication of temperament. What you want for oxen (or milk cows, for that matter) is a nice distinct whorl centered between the eyes or a little lower. Not a definitive indicator, but he said that he saw plenty of calves that he turned down because of the forehead whorl turn into impossible teams when they grew up.
Interestingly, Temple Grandin has found the whorl – temperament connection to be statistically verified:
What I’ve seen in my non-statistically relevant beef herd is that most of Galloway crosses have double whorls or lines. Low fear response, but not interested in me or my opinion. High whorls in the angus crosses does seem to correspond to more jumpy animals.
There’s a whole pattern of hair whorls on cattle that people have said are indicators of all sorts of things, like the escutcheon area whorl indicating milking ability (fat, protein, duration), and the back top whorl indicating fertility and vigor. Best theory is that whorl placement and shape is hormonally regulated, and so tied to other traits.
Take it with a grain of salt, but it’s another thing to think about.
-TevisFebruary 5, 2016 at 9:16 am #87548VinnieParticipant
Thank you. I wish I had known that earlier. You saved me from getting more useless animals. I checked my Brahman for a whorl because I never noticed it before. Well, it is less prominent because of the very short hair, but yes, he does have one very high up on the forehead. It seems that this is true.
There are also Holstein/Jersey crosses in my area, but while I enjoyed my gentle Jersey milk cow, I thought the steers were too nervous. Living in the deep south there are less good oxen breeds available at a reasonable cost. Thanks again for your advice.February 22, 2016 at 8:33 pm #87805MajorFordsonParticipant
That’s some crazy wives-tales sounding advice there Crabapple, but sounds like there certainly is something to it! Something every person selecting animals should know!
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