Where did Blondes come from?
Blondes are a purebred which originated in France. The first herdbook was opened in 1898. Three separate strains, from the plains, hills and mountains, were used to develop the Blonde breed. This contributes to their great adaptability and provides a powerful tool for further tool for further genetic development.
How has the breed’s history contributed to its characteristics?
Blonde muscle development, hardiness and docility remain from the breed’s days as draft animals. Unmatched Blonde adaptability results from the diverse climate in the area of their development. It ranges from a hot and humid coastal plain to hills with hot dry summers to the rocky and cold Pyrenees mountains with sparse vegetation.
Are Blondes related to Charolais? Limousin?
Only remotely. All of the light colored breeds of Europe probably originated from the same seedstock, which was brought to the area by barbarian invaders in the period before 600 A.D. Since that time they have developed into distinctly different breeds (i.e. Jersey, Limousin, Blonde d’Aquitaine, etc.) based on the environment of the area and the selection practices of the breeders.
Has there been organized breed improvement?
Selective breeding programs, based on performance, have improved the naturally high carcass yield and calf growth rate as well as increasing milk production, improving muscle patterns and conformation. Calving ease has been improved through development of a longer calf.
What is a Fullblood? Purebred? Percentage Blonde?
A Fullblood is 100% Blonde d’Aquitaine. Its pedigree will reflect ancestry back to the French Herdbook on both the Dam and Sire side. A Purebred has been bred up from another breed by crossing with Blondes until the prescribed level of Blonde purity is reached. To be considered Purebred, males must be 93.75% Blonde or greater and females must be 87.5% Blonde or greater.
Are there Blonde d’Aquitaine breeder organizations?
The American Blonde d’Aquitaine Association, 1908 Spring Drive NW, Fort Payne, AL 35968 is responsible for registration and promotion of Blonde cattle in the United States. The ABAA is supported by Rocky Mountain (New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming).
What are the benefits of the Blonde breed?
Efficient production of lean red meat is their primary advantage. Feedlot and carcass tests consistently show superior feed efficiency and a low fat to lean ratio for Blondes and Blonde crosses. Blonde meat marbles, is tender and tasty but does not carry excess external fat. It is unusual for a Blonde to have more than 0.2-0.3 inch of external fat. The breed’s remarkable length and highly developed hind quarter and loin produce a higher percentage of the more valuable steak and roast cuts. These characteristics are well recognized by feeders, packers and butchers.
Blondes are typically docile and easy to work. They are fertile, easy calvers and produce very growthy calves. Adjusted 205 day weaning weights range from 500 pounds to 700 pounds depending on sex, feed and management. Weaning weights of 600 pounds are typical, without creep feed, for areas with plentiful and rich grass.
Blondes may well be the most adaptable breed in existence. They flourish in all climates in the USA as well as in Canada and the Tropics.
Are Blondes efficient feed converters?
Blondes are unsurpassed in feed efficiency. In feed lot tests they consistently convert feed at the rate of 5.3-6.5 pounds of feed per pound of gain. Typical feed lot performance for other breeds is more like 7.5-8.5 pounds feed/pounds gain. Blondes are hardy foragers and readily convert low grade forage to efficient gains. It is not unusual for Blonde calves to gain 3 pounds per day on milk and good grass.
What traits contribute to Blonde efficiency?
Muscle growth requires much less energy (feed) input pounds/pound than does bone or fat. Thus, Blonde characteristics such as a finer bone structure and minimum external fat, along with well developed muscles, are ideal for feed efficiency. Of course, the basic hardiness of Blondes is also essential to their efficiency.
Do Blondes require special feed rations?
No, they will do quite well on typical range and will convert forage to meat as well as, or better than, any other breed. In the feed lot Blondes will perform well on any typical ration. However, they are capable of efficiently utilizing much richer feed than most breeds and will perform at their greatest efficiency, in the feedlot, on a hotter ration.
Do Blondes have calving difficulty? How large are the calves?
Blondes are typically easy calvers. A number of calf characteristics contribute to easier passage thru the birth canal: (1) the calf’s birth weight is spread over a much longer body, (2) a finer bone structure, (3) light muscling at birth, (4) smooth shoulders, and (5) a small triangular head. Cow characteristics, such as width of the pelvis and an inherited hooks-to-pins slope of the rump, also contribute to calving ease.
Tests have shown up to 98% unassisted calving from Fullblood Blonde cows. There are many breeders using Blonde bulls on crossbred cows who find that they have far fewer calving problems than with any breed previously tried.
Fullblood Blonde calves have averaged 79 pounds at birth and our Fullblood Blonde bull calves averaged 85 pounds. When Blondes are crossed with other breeds, birth weight will be influenced by the genetics of the other breed as well as the Blonde.
It should be noted that calving ease is much more a management problem than a heritable genetic trait. Good management practice dictates care in the selection of bulls and feeding of cows prior to calving. Extra care for first calf heifers and culling of problem cows are also essential.
How much do Blondes typically weigh at maturity?
Mature Fullblood Blonde bulls typically weigh 1600-2400 pounds. About 1800-2000 pounds is probably average, depending on management practices and animal condition. Mature Fullblood cows normally weigh 1000-1600 pounds, with about 1200-1400 pounds being average.
At what age do Blondes mature?
With good feed and management heifers can be expected to calve very near their second birthday, earlier if you let them. Since typical yearling weights for heifers are in the 700-1000 pounds range, first calves are usually not a problem. However, all heifers bear watching to assure minimum trauma at birth and timely rebreeding.
Bulls are usually ready for service at 14-18 months. However, they will perform and hold up to a busy schedule better at 2 years. Many breeders use their bulls lightly as yearlings to get a head start on their selection process.
How will Blondes do on hot, harsh range environments?
Blondes are extremely adaptable and are hardy foragers. In addition to the breed’s basic hardiness, its light color, short hair, active sweat glands and localized muscle control over skin movement (similar to Brahman cattle and horses) give Blondes an added advantage in those kinds of environments.
How do Blondes cross with other breeds?
Very well. Many of the Purebred Blondes in Texas have been bred-up from Brahman cross cows. Many commercial breeders use Blondes as a terminal cross in their beef cattle operations. Crosses with Angus, Brahman, Brangus, Brown Swiss, Charolais, Hereford, Santa Gertrudis, Shorthorn and Simmental are common. One successful breeder/feeder says he thinks a Simmental/Angus/Blonde cross is an ideal feedlot animal. Blonde/Angus crosses have been used by some breeders in an attempt to produce a polled Blonde Purebred.
What Blonde traits are evident in Blonde crosses?
Increased calf growth rate and Blonde conformation; length of body; well developed muscling, finer bone structure, and reduced external fat cover, are evident on the first cross.
Are Blondes naturally polled?
Fullblood Blondes are predominantly naturally horned;some breeders in Canada have developed some polled Fullblood Blondes. Purebred and percentage Blondes may be horned or polled.
Are Blondes all the same color?
Fullblood Blondes range in color from nearly white to nearly red. However, the golden wheat color, often with lighter rings around the eyes and muzzle, on the inner side of the legs, under the belly and on the shins is typical. The Blonde color is not at all dominant in crosses. Even at the 7/8ths Blonde level, animals will sometimes carry the coloring of the minority breed.
Are Blonde cows good milk producers? Do they have udder problems?
One of the original Blonde strains was a dual purpose animal, and selective breeding has resulted in increased milk production. Their milk is rich and adequate to produce excellent calf growth rates of 3 pounds per day and weaning weights of 600 pounds or more.
Controlled studies have shown that light to moderate milking, large frame cows are the most efficient producers of meat, from conception to the table. Blonde cows fit this description.
Blonde cows do not normally have udder problems, due in part to the placement of the udder where it is protected from injury.
Are Blondes typically short haired?
Blondes are a short haired breed, but they have more hair follicles than many breeds. They adapt to their environment by growing a much thicker coat in colder climates. This, along with other traits, makes Blondes ideal for southern, hot climates and adaptable to almost any location in the world.
Are Blondes double muscled?
Double muscling is a genetically controlled trait found in every breed of cattle except Brahmans. Under certain controlled conditions, double muscling can lead to superior beef production. However, the trait also carries with it very undesirable reproductive characteristics, which are the surest sign of the presence of the genetic trait. American breeders have rigorously selected against these undesirable reproductive characteristics and double muscling is not found in the typical American Blonde herd.