Breeding naturally polled calves means there’s no need to dehorn them, which can:
- save time
- save on vet costs
- improve animal welfare.
Understanding the genetics
Most New Zealand dairy cattle are horned. They have two copies of the gene for horns, and if they breed with another horned animal all their progeny will have horns.
Some animals are naturally polled. Being polled is less common but it’s governed by a dominant gene. An animal only needs one copy of the polled gene to be polled.
There’s a 50% chance a bull with one copy of the polled gene will pass it on to his progeny, so they will also be polled.
A small number of bulls have two copies of the polled gene. All their progeny will receive one copy of the gene, so all their progeny will be polled.