Good moos – an unusual arrival adds a splash of colour to Hartpury dairy herd

Wednesday 7th December 2016 2:13 pm
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RUBY TUESDAY: Hartpury’s rare red and white calf. ()

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MEET Ruby Tuesday, the rare red and white calf who is breaking up the monochrome pattern of the Holstein-Friesian herd at Hartpury College’s Home Farm.

The special addition to Hartpury’s 300-strong dairy herd landed on the straw at Home Farm in October.

The tiny calf was born weighing just 18kg, less than half the expected size for a calf of her breed, and covered in reddish brown patches instead of the usual black – a colouring known as ’red and white’.

Named Ruby Tuesday, she is only the second red calf to be born into the herd in the last 10 years.

Janatha Stout, director of agriculture at Hartpury, explained: “This distinctive coat colour is rare among traditional Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle as it is caused by a recessive gene. Both the bull and the cow need to be carrying the gene for the red and white colouring to occur.

“If they themselves carry both a black and white and a red and white gene, they will be black and white, as this is the dominant gene.

“This is the case with Ruby’s mother, who is black and white, but she must have passed on the recessive gene, giving Ruby Tuesday two red and white genes.”

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