Can polled cows make a difference in your herd? If you want to save money on dehorning and achieve better animal welfare routines, then the answer is “Yes”.
In this article, we will explain if a polled bull can have horns and how polledness and scurs are different from one another. We will also look at how two different genes control polledness and the scurred condition in cattle.
Focus on polledness
Horn is a kind of bone growth from the cranium and it can have many different designs. They can be small or big, curved or straight and bend in different directions.
The variation is breed specific which indicates that it is controlled by genes. If the horn is missing, it is called polled. In some cattle breeds, the polled gene has been a part of the breeding program for many years; hence, many of the animals in the breed are polled. In other breeds, the polled gene is not observed.
Research indicated that the polled trait is controlled by one pair of genes. As in the case of human beings, in cattle, each individual has two copies of most of the genes, and one of the copies is passed along to the offspring.
A calf inherits a gene from the mother (dam) and one from the father (sire). In this case, a gene for polledness or horns from each parent. A polled animal that has inherited one polled gene and one horned gene from the parents is called heterozygotic polled, while an animal which has inherited two polled genes from the parents is called homozygotic polled.