• If you are having problems logging in please use the Contact Us in the lower right hand corner of the forum page for assistance.

Rat Tail???

charangusman08

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Wisconsin
I've heard the term "rat tail" on here quite often and was wondering what is it and why is it bad? Thank you.
 

VanC

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
5,174
Reaction score
0
Location
East Central Illinois
The Rat-tail Riddle
A question at a loading chute last fall elicited some digging into why “rat-tail” calves are discounted by buyers.

Rat-tail calves have short, curly, malformed, sometimes sparse hair and lack tail switch development. They're usually a mouse-gray color. Research shows ranch and feedlot performance are usually lower for rat-tail cattle.

The syndrome is caused by crossing some Continental breeds that have the diluter gene (yellow in color) with cattle that are black in color, says Ron Torell, Nevada Extension livestock specialist.

Simmental × Angus and Simmental × Holstein are the most common crosses producing this congenital defect. To a lesser extent, there is also incidence in Gelbvieh and Charolais crosses.

In one study by Kansas State University and the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE, the rat-tail condition had no effect on birth weight, weaning weight or gain from birth to weaning. However, rat-tail calves had significantly lower rates of gain during the winter months from weaning to yearling, resulting in significantly lighter yearling weight.

Steer gains from yearling to slaughter weren't significantly different, but rat-tail steers were lighter and older at slaughter than non-rat-tail steers.

To prevent rat-tails in a cross breeding program, identify and cull cows that have or have had rat-tail calves. Buy only bulls without the gene. Breed associations have worked hard to identify bulls that are diluter gene free.


"RAT-TAIL" IN CATTLE

There is in cattle a genetic condition called "rat-tail syndrome", which can occur when crossing black cattle with some Continental breeds. Such cattle have short, curly, often sparse hair and poorly developed tail switches. There may be price discount for this condition, based on supposed poor health and performance. Kansas State Univ. and USDA researchers studied a group of spring-born calves identical in background and management, some of which were rat-tail. There was essentially no difference in birth or weaning weight. But rat-tail calves gained 0.22 lb/day less from weaning to 12-months of age, 0.24 lb/day less from 12 months to slaughter at about 16 months, and were 79 lb lighter at slaughter, though they were fed for 13 more days . So some price discount may be justified, though not as much as is often seen.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,536
Reaction score
65
Location
Central Upstate New York
Because of all the bad mouthing about rat-tail cattle, I googled it and could only come up with the above articles & some research papers. Basicly, they have LESS HAIR which makes them less hardy in cold climates.
With all the greys/silvers/chocolates I've had over 40 years, I think I may have had a couple that would be considered "rat-tailed". Never noticed any difference in performance. But, never had enough of them to really give an opinion one way or other. Haven't even had a diluted calf for several years, not that there's anything wrong with them either. Feedlot buyers like any excuse to "discount" their purchases. :)
 

BC

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2004
Messages
2,486
Reaction score
4
Location
Van Zandt County, TX
They get discounted for their lower performance. As noted in the research mentioned earlier, rat-tails gain about a 1/4 lb lass per day, have to be fed longer to get to slaughter weight, and often weigh less - all things that cost money to the feeder.
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
1
Location
MO Ozarks
Jeanne - Simme Valley":13m9z5xf said:
Because of all the bad mouthing about rat-tail cattle, I googled it and could only come up with the above articles & some research papers. Basicly, they have LESS HAIR which makes them less hardy in cold climates.
With all the greys/silvers/chocolates I've had over 40 years, I think I may have had a couple that would be considered "rat-tailed". Never noticed any difference in performance. But, never had enough of them to really give an opinion one way or other. Haven't even had a diluted calf for several years, not that there's anything wrong with them either. Feedlot buyers like any excuse to "discount" their purchases. :)

It's pretty easy to tell a rat-tail. Their hair looks more like short moss then hair and is frequently real curly and short.
 

alacattleman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
4,141
Reaction score
0
Location
heart of dixie
draw a mental picture in your head of a calf......now remove the hair coat and tail switch and stain the hide grey........ too me the best way too describe they look like the got the mange
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,536
Reaction score
65
Location
Central Upstate New York
alacattleman":3hfxw8iy said:
draw a mental picture in your head of a calf......now remove the hair coat and tail switch and stain the hide grey........ too me the best way too describe they look like the got the mange
eewww - yuk! I never had anything that looked like mange. I've had short kinky hair more like frizz - but it was always thick. Maybe I never had one. More like a BAD PERM.
 

alacattleman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
4,141
Reaction score
0
Location
heart of dixie
Jeanne - Simme Valley":3g3e1c79 said:
alacattleman":3g3e1c79 said:
draw a mental picture in your head of a calf......now remove the hair coat and tail switch and stain the hide grey........ too me the best way too describe they look like the got the mange
eewww - yuk! I never had anything that looked like mange. I've had short kinky hair more like frizz - but it was always thick. Maybe I never had one. More like a BAD PERM.
your breeding strait simm and homozygous black simm....yours may not even be true rats...if i can ill take a picture of mine..she's bonafied
 

Putangitangi

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2007
Messages
902
Reaction score
0
Location
Aotearoa - New Zealand
I have one rat-tail/hypotrichosis animal still in my herd and she's still there because her mother was a great little (rat-tailed) cow and her own growth to weaning and yearling was great. She'll calve as a 2-yr old in the spring. She's a bigger and better animal than some of her contemporaries, but I live in a warm climate, so there's no severe temperature challenge.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
11,536
Reaction score
65
Location
Central Upstate New York
alacattleman":194dtnv3 said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":194dtnv3 said:
alacattleman":194dtnv3 said:
draw a mental picture in your head of a calf......now remove the hair coat and tail switch and stain the hide grey........ too me the best way too describe they look like the got the mange
eewww - yuk! I never had anything that looked like mange. I've had short kinky hair more like frizz - but it was always thick. Maybe I never had one. More like a BAD PERM.
your breeding strait simm and homozygous black simm....yours may not even be true rats...if i can ill take a picture of mine..she's bonafied
DUH! You're right. Not very likely we could have ever produced any, except maybe back 30-40 years ago when we were upgrading. Seems like most of the true greys were kinky haired.
 

charangusman08

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 22, 2008
Messages
99
Reaction score
0
Location
SW Wisconsin
Around here in Southern Wisconsin, people cross simmental x angus and call them SimAngus and sell them for bulls. Are these bulls bad then?
 

alexfarms

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
785
Reaction score
0
Location
Gypsum, KS
charangusman08":3l1d0u1d said:
Around here in Southern Wisconsin, people cross simmental x angus and call them SimAngus and sell them for bulls. Are these bulls bad then?


A black hided simm/Angus that appears normal should not carry the diluter gene(which causes rat tails). No normal appearing black animal will carry the diluter gene. No red animal will express rat tail, but they can carry the gene. Rat tail and hypotrichosis are two different abnormalities. The rat tail gene is a dominant gene that can only be expressed if the animal also carries the black gene. The hypotrichosis gene is simple recessive. Animals that are homozygous for the hypotrichosis gene will have short, kinky, thin hair at birth and will usually look better as they age. I only had 1 hypotrichosis animal and it sure didn't perform as well as its contemporaries. The rat tail gene isn't being passed on by normal appearing black cattle, it is being passed on by cattle that are other than black and carry the rat tail gene without expressing it themselves. It became common in the US after the appearance of the continental cattle, so they probably brought it in.
 

redpoll52

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2008
Messages
59
Reaction score
0
Rat Tail ???? haha. (bad do'ers ? or bad breeding ? )

Sorry to laugh, but it reminds me of "supergene" assessed cattle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ??????????????????????
 

alacattleman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
4,141
Reaction score
0
Location
heart of dixie
redpoll52":126bobo2 said:
Rat Tail ???? haha. (bad do'ers ? or bad breeding ? )

Sorry to laugh, but it reminds me of "supergene" assessed cattle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ??????????????????????
that's bull sht
 

Malter

Active member
Joined
Mar 30, 2009
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
I dont understand why alacattleman would refer to Redpoll52s remarks as B...S... but one thing for sure the SUPERGENE System is real B...S...
 

Latest posts

Top