Rare English Longhorn calf born at Conner Prairie through embryo transfer
Editor’s note: Conner Prairie’s historic grounds open for the 2017 outdoor season Tuesday (March 28).
FISHERS, Ind. (Monday, March 27, 2017/Conner Prairie) –An embryo transfer English Longhorn calf was born at Conner Prairie Wednesday – the first birth of its kind in decades.
The calf is now one of 11 English Longhorns at Conner Prairie, which has the second-largest herd of the breed in the U.S. There are only about 40 English Longhorns in the country.
The 7-day-old embryo was shipped from England in liquid nitrogen to keep it cold and implanted into one of the museum’s Shorthorn cows at an offsite facility nine months ago. The embryo came from Blackbrook Longhorns, a facility located in the United Kingdom operated by John and Pat Stanley.
Download a high-resolution image of the rare calf.
“This is the only time it’s been done (with English Longhorns) in the United States since 1993,” said Conner Prairie Livestock Manager Kevyn Miller. “Blackbrook Longhorns have been instrumental in helping promote and preserve the breed.”
The calf born at Conner Prairie is a bull. Miller said plans are to breed the bull to English Longhorn cows at the museum to diversify the genetics of the herd.
“We’ve got two different genetic lines now,” Miller said. “We can keep breeding for several generations without inbreeding.”
English Longhorn cattle are historically accurate to the 19th century. The breed also has several traits that would be lost forever should the breed go extinct. Those traits include lean and tender meat, a gentle disposition, exceptional mothering by cows and intelligence that’s superior to other breeds.
This is the first time Conner Prairie has used embryo transfer technology. Miller said it could prove instrumental in preserving English Longhorns in the U.S.
“This is a new technology to save a really, really old breed,” he said.
To learn more about Conner Prairie’s robust agriculture program and its heritage breeds, click here.
Spanning nearly 1,000 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie welcomes nearly 400,000 visitors of all ages annually. As Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute affiliate, Conner Prairie offers various outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces that combine history and art with science, technology, engineering and math to offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.
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Conner Prairie’s mission is to inspire curiosity and foster learning about Indiana by providing engaging, individualized and unique experiences. Created by Eli Lilly in 1934, Conner Prairie combines history with science, technology, engineering and math and encourages visitors to explore Indiana’s natural and cultural heritage through hands-on, immersive and interactive experiences. Inspiring visitors of all ages to discover more about the events, discoveries and forces that shaped the American Midwest, Conner Prairie offers various historically themed, indoor and outdoor experience areas throughout its nearly 1,000 acres of wooded property in Fishers, Ind. Indiana’s first Smithsonian Institute Affiliate and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, Conner Prairie is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization that relies on grants and philanthropic donations from corporations and individuals for sustainability and growth. Visit connerprairie.org or call (800) 966-1836 for admission dates, hours, ticket prices and opportunities to donate and volunteer. Conner Prairie is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat (username: connerprairie), Flickr and YouTube.