The Buttonwood Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a Randall Lineback Calf. Our newest resident was born on January 9th and both mother and calf are doing well. You can see them in the barnyard.
During the 19th century, various kinds of lineback cattle were very common on New England farms. The Randall Lineback is a purebred remnant of those lineback-patterned cattle. The origins of the breed are not clear. However, it is likely to have originated in New England from a combination of Dutch, English, and French cattle. Historically, Linebacks were multi-purpose, used for dairy, beef, and oxen, and served as an integral part of rural New England life for several centuries.
It’s All In The Name
When they lost their usefulness as draft animals because of mechanization, most of them were crossbred with Holsteins. The name Randall comes from the Randall family in Vermont, who kept a closed herd of Linebacks for over eighty years. The Randall herd was one of the few herds of Linebacks that was not crossbred with Holsteins. The “lineback” part of the breed’s name refers to the broad white stripe that runs across the top of the animal’s spine. The rest of the coat is bluish-black, though there’s a wide range of coloring, including some speckled varieties.
The Randall Lineback is medium sized among cattle. The cows are unmistakably dairy animals, while the bulls are heavy, strong, and easily trainable as draft oxen.
Randall Lineback cattle are critically rare, with fewer than 150 animals distributed among a few herds. The cattle are being closely managed for increasing numbers and maintaining genetic health. The breed is more secure now than in the recent past, although its survival is still tenuous.
Did You Know?
Cynthia Creech is credited with bringing the Randall Lineback breed from a total of fewer than twenty animals to over 200. Our Randall Linebacks came from her.