Meet Our Rare Breed Randall Cattle
*The Randall Lineback is a purebred remnant of the lineback-patterned cattle once common in New England. Though their origins aren’t clear, they’re likely to have originated in New England from a combination of Dutch, English, and French cattle. Historically, Linebacks were multi-purpose, having been used for dairy and beef production, as well as oxen. The “lineback” part of the breed’s name describes their lineback color pattern. The cattle are blue-black with a white line down their backs. The roan coloring on their sides varies from almost black to nearly white, with black noses, eye rings, ears, feet, and teats. Between the extremes are many animals that are blue roan or speckled. All of the variants are stunning.
The name Randall comes from the Randall family in Vermont, who kept a closed herd of Linebacks for over 80 years. The Randall herd was one of the few herds of Linebacks that weren’t crossbred with Holsteins. However, after the death of Everett Randall, their herd was dispersed and most of the animals were lost to slaughter. Through a convoluted pathway and with the efforts of Livestock Conservancy members, a small part of the herd was saved and has been the foundation for conservation efforts.
Randall Linebacks are medium-sized cattle. Some variation in conformation does occur, but the majority of cows have dairy conformation and well-developed udders. Bulls are large and demonstrate good growth rates. A few steers have been trained as oxen, a task they’ve excelled at. Their unusual color, willingness, and ability make them attractive and capable draft animals.
The Randall Lineback breed is distinct from the American Lineback, which includes any dairy animal with the lineback color pattern. Though the American Lineback registry includes some animals of historic breeding, this population falls short of the genetic definition of a breed.
Randall Lineback cattle are critically rare, and the cattle are being closely managed for increasing numbers and maintaining genetic health. With more than 500 in 2015, the breed is more secure now than in the recent past, although additional breeders would ensure its continued survival. (*Source: Livestock Conservancy website)
Why Save Them?
Want to get in on saving an endangered animal that you can actually visit and see right here in Sussex County? Help us raise the herd and support one of our cows!
Many of America’s once-common farm animals face extinction if we do not take action now. Rare farm animals represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity and offer incredible variety that may be needed for future farms – robust health, mothering instincts, foraging, and the ability to thrive in a changing climate. These farm animals are a vital part of ensuring food security for our planet – now and for the future.
We've got 5 baby calves coming this fall and you'll get exclusive updates and a behind the scenes look at the "Moo" of your choice!. Winter hay is already 2 times more expensive than it was last year. We have to get our herd size up before we can start raising the best tasting beef that will help us offset the coasts of caring for these magnificent animals. $10 a month will cover one bail of hay and that may not sound like much but on the farm every little bit helps us do more good! Details and more cows to sponsor coming soon!