The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is on the lookout for tailless calves. Recently, the ICBF said it was looking for funny looking calves and, in that search, tailless calves have shown up more than expected.

So, if you have a tailless calf or know someone that has a tailless calf the ICBF wants to know about it.

“The news of these tailless calves got our health and disease researcher very interested and she’s now looking for other cattle that were born without tails, or very short tails. While this is not an epidemic of tailless cattle in Ireland, there are a few more this year than in previous years so we’re interested in why,” it says.

“Is it because we have a new reporting system, or because there is something different going on in the cattle population? The only way to find out is to collect more data,” the ICBF says.

So what is the ICBF looking for? If you have an animal that was born without a tail or with a shortened tail (~10 cm or less) the ICBF would like to know and collect both a DNA sample and photo of the animal, it says.

“If the animal is no longer with you or died, we’re still interested in it being reported on the survey so we can identify if a particular line or breed is associated with this trait. If you’re online and your neighbour isn’t but has had one of these calves, please reach out to them so we can get as much information on this as possible,” the ICBF says.

The ICBF says that if you have such an animal, or an animal with any other defects, be sure to fill out the Congenital Defects survey which can be found online.

“If the animal you are reporting is older and has already been genotyped we can use the data from the genotyping to look for areas in the genome that all these animals share and hopefully learn more about this defect and any others that get reported to us,” it says.