2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4, Page #06[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mini Holsteins "In The Works"Miniature cattle breeder Richard Gradwohl is now developing his 19th breed, a line of miniature Holsteins. By crossing smaller members of the breed with miniature Dexter and Angus and selecting for size, he bred a cow named Lulu that fits his requirement of less than 46 in. tall.
"I have bred her twice and had two bull calves," reports Gradwohl. "The first one ŠTimmy' is about 42 in. tall, and we have bred him to 12 smaller (45-48-in.) Holstein heifers at a 3,000-head dairy in Utah. It will be interesting to see if he breeds true for size."
Both bull calves have been sold to breeders who agreed to follow Gradwohl's breeding program and help develop the breed. The program is based around the concept of line breeding, i.e., constantly crossing back to the progeny of a single individual, often to very close relatives. In this case, all of Gradwohl's miniature Holsteins will trace back to Lulu. The project began by breeding a small Dexter bull to a small Holstein heifer. The resulting cross bull was then bred to a small Angus/Holstein cross. Lulu was the result of these pairings. She is half Holstein, one fourth Angus, and one fourth Dexter. His sons are also half Holstein.
"Lulu is pregnant again, and I am hoping for a female so I can breed half brother and half sister," says Gradwohl.
One reason Gradwohl has settled on the 44-46-in. height is that it's high enough to reach underneath and milk. His goal is a cow that takes 1/3 the feed, but produces half the milk of a full-size Holstein. At this point, Gradwohl has no production records for Lulu, having let her bull calves nurse rather than milk her. Lack of milk production records hasn't slowed the demand for her offspring. Gradwohl reports having pre-sold five of the yet unconfirmed calves sired by Timmy. Prices won't be finalized until the calves are born.
"The ones coming from Timmy will be priced from $4,000 to $6,000 depending on conformation and height," says Gradwohl. "Anything taller will be closer to $4,000."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Richard Gradwohl, 25204 156th Avenue SE, Covington, Wash. 98042 (ph 253 631-1911; fax 253 631-5774; info@ minicattle.com; www.minicattle.com).
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