I've truly enjoyed viewing all of your entries for the BEEF Daily "Calves and Cowboys" Photo Contest! This one of Tucker and Krista is picture perfect, and the quality of photos of cattle and ranchers gets better with each new entry. With Thursday's deadline, there's still time to enter, and I hope you'll take a minute to send me your best.
Another great thing about reader photo contests is the stories shared with each entry. For example, this entry of a tri-colored calf by Rob Robinson sparked an interesting conversation.
“I have a 200-head cowherd and grew up on a ranch so have been around cows all of my 60 years, and I have never seen a tri-colored critter in our animals or any of my neighbors many cows over the years. So, I am thinking there are several zeros to the right of the decimal point in the percentage odds of this happening. The calf seems to be normal in every other regard and is a nice healthy bull calf. The sire is an Angus bull, and I think the red gene would have come from at least five generations prior,” writes Robinson.
Bob Weaber, PhD, is the Extension specialist in beef genetics at the University of Missouri, and he offers his explanation of Robinson’s colorful calf.
“I would say it’s pretty rare but can’t put a number to it. Likely causes are, 1) a point mutation in the cell that gave rise to the melanocytes during fetal development that are now red, or 2) the calf is a chimera resulting from the fusion of two fertilized embryos at an early stage of development. One of these embryos was red and one black. Some geno-typing could sort out the chimera issue as causative,” Weaber says.
Do you have some interesting calving stories to share from this year? Send me your snapshots at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday and be entered to win one of three copies of the limited-edition print, “Cowboy Heaven” by Steve Devenyns. In the meantime, be sure to check out the complete photo album of "Calves and Cowboys."
The top three finalists in the photo contest will be published in an upcoming issue of BEEF magazine.