Do you know much about the Chianina breed? Check out the top facts here!
- Many reports indicate that Chianina might be the oldest cattle breeds in the world! There’s a lot of evidence for this, one of the most interesting being that Chianina cattle are immortalised in some of Ancient Rome’s famous art sculptures!
- They’ve also been mentioned in some of the famous poet Columella’s writings from around 50 AD!
- The breed originated in Italy, probably in the western and central regions. Records show that the breed was definitely present in its early years in the Valdichiana area in particular.
- Nowadays, the breed is used primarily for beef production. However, in the past they were quite popular as draught cattle.
- Chianina bulls have been crossbred with other cattle to create well-established breeds of today, including Chimaine, Chiford and Chiangus (a combination of Chianina and Angus, of course).
- The breed’s coat is often white in colour, although there are steel grey variants. Their hair is usually short, and these cattle are black in colour around the nose and switch. Chianina bulls also have darker-coloured hair around their faces. Calves are usually born with fawn-coloured hair.
- Chianina cattle have short horns that are curved forward. In young cattle, these horns are black in colour but usually get paler as time goes on. This may be something for farmers to consider, as the dehorning process can be time-consuming for farmers worried about keeping horned animals in close proximity to other livestock.
- These large cattle are well-muscled with quite long legs, and bulls can weigh about 1,500 while cows can reach about 1,000kg.
- Chianina cattle are quite well-adapted to warmer climates. Their black-pigmented skin reduces their cancer risk, and their efficiency isn’t reduced by high temperatures. As well as this, their skin is tough and resistant to parasites.
- They calve quite easily, mostly due to their small skull-size. This makes things quite a bit easier on the dam, resulting in less veterinary costs during calving seasons!
- Chianina usually weigh about 50kg at birth, which may be considered quite large. Before reaching full-size, they also gain weight at a rate of 2kg per day.
- Chianina beef is praised for being lean and well-marbled, and this adds to its tenderness. These cattle are usually slaughtered at 16-18 months, and carcasses usually have a 65% yield.
For a more general overview of how to choose a breed that suits your farm, you can also read our article on Beef Cattle: Choosing the Right Breed for You.
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons