Belgian Blue Cow

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Today, the Belgian blue cow is a breed popular in Germany, France, Belgium, but not in Russia. However, more and more domestic breeders are interested in this unusual animal, like a real bodybuilder. Perhaps, you have met photos or videos, where you can see "pumped" cows, similar to the living mountains of meat. This is not a focus, not a photoshop and not a result of steroid feeding. These are the animals of the Belgian blue breed - the result of a natural genetic mutation.

Indicators and appearance of cows-bodybuilders

Breed differs not only a large number of muscles (that is, meat), but also very good indicators of milk yield. The main characteristics of the Belgian blue breed are:

  • height at withers - 138-150 centimeters;
  • the weight of bulls - 1100-1250 kilograms;
  • cows weight - 850-900 kilograms;
  • yield - 2,0-4,5 thousand liters for the annual period;
  • milk fat content - from 3.5 to 4.1%;
  • slaughter yield - 70-80%.

The exterior of this animal is very remarkable. The body is elongated, extremely muscular, with rounded, bulging muscles. Legs short, but strong. Color - from white and blue to black, spots are possible. Sometimes there is a red suit, this is also the norm for the breed. The wool itself is very short - so much so that it is almost invisible. Cows and bulls look different: the first are noticeably smaller. Interestingly, the calves of the Belgian breed of cows are born ordinary and only over time gain a huge mass.

How and when did the breed appear

Although in our country almost nothing is known about these animals, in Belgium the blue bull has been well known since the 18th century. At that time, representatives of the Shorthorn (short-legged) meat breed were specially brought from England to improve the local cattle, which consisted of red-motley cows and variegated Friesian breeds. There is also evidence that the genetic material of the Charolais bulls was “mixed in” for greater effect in the 19th century.

The purpose of breeding was to create a dairy and beef cattle, which would bring fat milk and good meat. Over time, it was decided that meat was nevertheless more necessary, and the work was continued only in this direction.

For quite a long time, a new Belgian cow was distinguished from its relatives only by slightly larger sizes. But in 1960, scientists discovered a gene mutation in some representatives that is responsible for the production of myostatin protein. Myostatin does not allow muscles to grow uncontrollably. The mutated gene of the so-called double muscles allowed the body to build muscle without restriction. This effect was adopted by the breeders. It is from that moment that one can speak of the emergence and beginning of breeding of the Belgian blue cow, in the form in which it is known today.

Meat quality and myths about Belgian cows

From the side of the "Belgian" look as if they were overfed with hormones. We, intimidated by all sorts of horror stories about modern products, this raises the question: is it not harmful to eat such meat?

In fact, this whole mountain of muscles is of natural origin and is no different from ordinary beef, it even has a number of advantages.

The nutritional value of blue Belgian cow meat (also called Belgian "blue beef") is presented below:

The indicators are recorded by a number of independent tests and included in the American standard for organic products.

In addition, the "blue beef" diet, it is especially juicy and delicate in taste.

As for fears about GMOs, they are unfounded. A gene mutation in blue Belgian cows is natural, just for selection only those individuals in which it is present were selected. So this mutation has become the norm for this breed of cattle.

No more than a scary story are the stories about terrible diseases affecting the "Belgian": allegedly because of the weight they can not stand the legs, and animals die in agony. All this is not true. Strong legs perfectly maintain the cow weight and even allow you to run fast.

Another interesting fact: a large number of muscles does not affect the temperament of these animals. Even the most formidable Belgian mutant bull has a more appealing character than some ordinary gobies.

Pregnancy and problems with calving

With all the advantages, however, this breed has a minus. Blue cows have a too narrow pelvis, which is why they cannot give birth to themselves. For this reason, during the calving, a cesarean section is mandatory.

Pregnancy lasts less than that of other breeds - 281-285 days, and the first calving occurs at the age of 28-35 months. Calves are born ordinary, only large. They weigh from 38 to 75 kilograms (depending on gender). Muscles begin to grow rapidly, after a month and a half, but from the very first day babies are actively gaining weight. On average, the bulls "get better" for 1300-1900 grams per day, heifers for 800-1500 grams.

In farms where "Belgian" is bred, artificial insemination is sometimes used, fertilizing other breeds with sperm of Belgian bulls. As a result, calves are a little less, a cow with a normal pelvic structure may well give birth to them independently. In this case, the mutated gene of "double muscles" passes to the offspring from the father, and then the calves develop as typical "Belgians".

Also, crossing any breed of cattle with blue Belgian increases the slaughter yield by 5-7%, improves the quality of meat.

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