Fleckvieh Impressions

                 

Until recently, Fleckvieh was virtually unheard of in Kenya, which is quite astonishing if you consider the fact that they are the second most numerous breed in the world, outnumbered only by Holsteins. “Fleckvieh” is a German word literally meaning “spotted cattle”.

What makes them absolutely unique is the fact that the breed is equally selected for milking and growing ability and therefore can be used for both dairy and beef purposes. This is very evident in their home country, where presently many dairy farmers (due to ever stagnating or dropping milk prices) have turned their Fleckvieh milking herd out onto pasture, with their calves at their side and being left to suckle and all calves being raised for beef. And these are the very same cows that only one or two years back were being milked like any other dairy cow! In Europe raising calves for beef presently makes more economic sense than milking their dams, which is reflected in calf prices at livestock auctions: Bull calves fetch about KShs 50.000/- whereas heifer calves are worth only about half that price!

Thanks to Fleckvieh Genetics EA LTD Fleckvieh semen is now readily available in most parts of Kenya or can be obtained directly from them. There are only very few purebred Fleckvieh animals around so if you are interested in this breed, crossbreeding Fleckvieh with your existing cows is the easiest option. Unless of course, you have the means to directly import purebred animals from abroad, that is….

You don’t need to be a professional to succeed with Fleckvieh, but keep in mind that if your present cows are small, frail and weak due to inadequate feeding, disease and general poor management, using Fleckvieh semen is no magic cure and the resulting Fleckvieh cross cows will probably even look worse due to their enormous size and correlating feed and management requirements.

To start with, you can use Fleckvieh semen on almost any breed of cow. She should be of sufficient size and shouldn’t have had previous difficult calvings. In my personal opinion I would never use Fleckvieh semen on a heifer, though. When using Fleckvieh semen you should always keep in mind that:

  • Fleckvieh is a very large breed, with purebred cows outweighing most of our bulls around.
  • They are also quite late maturing and start coming into heat much later than most of the traditional dairy breeds. In their home country many will not be served before reaching about two years of age and weighing over 600kg. “Calving ease” of individual sires is determined by their semen being used on these huge heifers and cannot be readily converted into calving ease under local conditions.
  • Duration of pregnancy usually is a couple of days extra compared to other dairy breeds (except Brown Swiss), giving the unborn calf extra time to grow and bull calves weighing 50kg at birth are no exception.

Fleckvieh are an excellent choice for use in any crossbreeding program. Being a dual purpose breed,  they are not related too closely to all the major dairy breeds. In particular all the lowland breeds as Holsteins, Jerseys and Guernseys are ideal to exploit hybrid vigor. Additionally Fleckvieh are also the number 1 choice for crossbreeding to enhance beef production.

Here are some examples of what you can expect after this first use of Fleckvieh semen, your F1 generation might also look like this:

 

BFG Inzaghi daughter

Born November 2010

46% Fleckvieh

25% Jersey

15% Holstein

 

 

BFG Zeitlos daughter

Born November 2010

50% Fleckvieh

27% Sahiwal

8% Ayrshire

 

 

BFG Zeitlos daughter

Born April 2010

50% Fleckvieh

32% Brown Swiss

12% Sahiwal

 

 

BFG Zeitlos daughter

Born November 2010

50% Fleckvieh

28% Sahiwal

12% Jersey

 

 

If you continue using Fleckvieh semen on each new generation (which is called backcrossing) you can increase their genetic proportion as following:

  • 1st generation is 50% Fleckvieh
  • 2nd generation is 75% Fleckvieh…

and thereby surpassing 99% of Fleckvieh genetic makeup when reaching the 7th generation. Commonly 4th to 5th generation animals can already be considered as purebred.

Wishing all interested readers happy and prosperous Fleckvieh breeding!


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Comments   

 
JulesNN
0 # JulesNN 2012-07-09 05:43
Hi. Thanks for this very informative article. It is possible that we have been having Fleckvieh breeds in Kenya but because of the colour, they are confused with Guernsey or Aryshire crosses.
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Rogers Mutaka
0 # Rogers Mutaka 2013-02-28 22:21
Hii ,thanks for this artical.
Am falling in love with Fleckvieh breeds.
How many Flecks can i have on my 500 acres with reserved 100 acres of planted fodder and maize?
How is thier milk production especialy on 1st and 2nd generation.
What is the best cross breed ,is it sahiwal.Jersey,Brownswis in respect to disease resitence.
But am so impressed of this well thought of pieace of article.
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Makitosha
0 # Makitosha 2013-05-04 19:29
Sorry for the late reply.
I have seen farms of one acre with 200 well fed cows managed there as well as farms with a stocking rate of one cow to 10 acres with all the cows starving. It really depends on how much supplemantary feeds you are willing to bring in, how much rainfall is in your area, how fertile and well managed the pastures are and many more factors. Best advise always would be to start with a rather low stocking rate and run the herd over one to two dry seasons. If there is still plenty of pasture left you can gradually increase the size of your herd. This will also allow you to adjust your management to the larger number of animals. Conserving forages will also help a lot to increase stocking capacity. Always keep in mind the years with much below average rainfall.
For your crossbreeding enquiry please read livestockkenya.com/.../...
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Rogers Mutaka
0 # Rogers Mutaka 2013-02-28 22:24
Hope i will get feedback....
Am so impressed with a Fleckv 1st and 2nd generation.
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Andree
0 # Andree 2013-07-02 17:54
can u get a pure breed and at how much
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Makitosha
0 # Makitosha 2013-07-03 11:15
As to my knowledge there are only two or three purebred animals in Kenya so far owned by www.fleckviehgeneticsea.com/
A number of 75% Fleckvieh calves have already be born in different parts of the country.
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CHARLES NGIGE NYORO
0 # CHARLES NGIGE NYORO 2013-07-10 13:54
AM SO INTERESTED IN DAIRY FARMING,CAN THIS BREED SURVIVE AROUND OLOITOKTOK ?
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Samuel Warutere
-2 # Samuel Warutere 2013-11-23 06:15
Guide me as to where I can buy some FLECKVIEH heifers.
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philemon koskei
0 # philemon koskei 2014-02-07 14:15
wooh,i am impressed with fleckvieh breed.Ihave 0.5
piece of land,how many cattle can i keep?advice me
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philemon koskei
0 # philemon koskei 2014-02-07 14:19
Are sahiwal breeds still available in kericho?Iwant atleast abreed.
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josephat Kibet
0 # josephat Kibet 2014-02-28 09:39
How much does semen for AI cost to x-breed
one cow and where can i find within Kericho?

How many cattle can i keep in 1 acre piece of land? I want to start it. kindly advice please!
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Tom Okello
+1 # Tom Okello 2014-03-05 16:11
This is a nice breed. Can cross breeding be done successfully with the Masai Zebu in a place like kitengela?
Also on a half an acre under zero grazing in the same area, would it be advisable to keep 4 such cows with minimal supplements?
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Albert Kibebe
0 # Albert Kibebe 2014-06-17 09:40
is a good breed i like it and i want it at kinanagop who can assist to get two to start with Albert Kibebe contact 0721515474
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Josphat Melly
0 # Josphat Melly 2014-07-04 13:34
i like the breed.Please luink me to a seller of the breed in Nandi district
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gitau
0 # gitau 2014-11-16 11:31
can u link me with someone with the breed in muranga county
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Joseph Muchene
0 # Joseph Muchene 2016-03-10 12:12
For those asking for Fleckvieh semen kindly ask your AI technicians for Home farm Breeders Fleckvieh semen. We cover the whole country so your KaGric distributor will definately have our semen. Mans for those who have followed Makitosha's Magic 50 breed we also now have the semen on sale.
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Grace Prosper
0 # Grace Prosper 2016-06-20 08:50
I whant to know the price of fleckvieh cow
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