Red Poll Cattle originated in 1808 from the hybridization of Norfolk and Suffolk cattle, in an area of England known as East Anglia. By 1846 these red cattle gained popularity as improved cattle and were recognized as a separate breed.
Red Polls first appeared in Canada in the 1880’s when they were imported by the New Brunswick provincial government. In 1903 H. C. Clendening, of Harding, Manitoba, introduced Red Polls to the west with the Canadian Red Poll Cattle Association being incorporated in 1906. The Red Poll breed spread around the world with Australia having some of the first overseas Red Poll imports in the first decade of the 1800’s with the first breeding stud in the 1870’s.
Red Poll cattle were first imported to the United States in 1873 and New Zealand in 1898. Jamaica, South Africa, Uruguay all have substantial herds.
The Red Poll cow is long lived and outstanding for its mothering ability and ease of calving, while the bull imparts his rich color and natural dehorning ability to his offspring when bred to horned animals. Red Poll Cattle are docile and economical to keep, with a strong genetic base which has been closely guarded for many years.
The Red Poll Bull
The bull is predominantly a quiet and placid animal, an important factor in any cow herd. He is very prepotent, able to transmit his deep red color and polled qualities to his offspring and increasing the milk ability of his daughters when used for crossbreeding on breeds with less milk.
The Red Poll Cow
What kind of cow do we want in our cow herd today? First of all a cow who can convert feed economically throughout her system to her offspring and who has easy calving ability, plenty of milk, is docile and whose carcass and that of her progeny are of top quality and not wasteful.
Considerations a Commercial Cattleman may value in using a Red Poll Bull.
Cattle breeders maintain a calf must be small enough to cause minimal calving problems and large enough to consistently reach a mature weight quickly. The Red Poll cow drops on average a 70 – 90 pound calf. The Red Poll Cow will have a slightly tilted, very large, pelvis with the angle of the hip bone to pin bone of approximately 18 degrees. This allows for an excellent presentation angle and allows the smooth movement of the calf during calving.
Higher Milk Production
The 4 – 5.25 gallons per day that the Red Poll cow produces, while short of main dairy breeds of 8 – 10 gallons per day, is far superior to the production as found by Oklahoma State University research report of 1 – 1.8 gallons per day for Herford and 1.3 – 2.6 gallons per day for Angus cows under pasture conditions (Animal Science Research Report – Rollin H. Thayer, editor). For the first three months of a calf’s life its weight gain comes primarily from the dam’s milk, for every 6 to 8 pounds of milk consumed produces 1 pound of gain (Animal Science Research Report – Rollin H. Thayer, editor). With Red Poll genetics in the cow herd, the milk production directly corresponds with the quality of feed available, resulting in faster gaining calves.
Docile Bulls and Females
Red Poll cattle are noted for being docile. A preferred animal for 4H projects because of their ease of handling. Our cattle are generally able to be hand milked from their first calving with no concerns of being around the cow and calf. Quiet cows are easy keepers with excellent feed conversion rates and carcass quality. Our AI sire Eurimbla Leopold’s steers have taken the top carcass, yield, quality and eye muscle area against all breeds in the 2012 National Steer Competition (Australia).
While it has been noted that there are producing Red Poll cows that reach 20 years after producing a calf every year in our herd, the oldest female we have at present is a J year cow (1999) will be eighteen years old this spring (2017) and is in calf.