One of the major Texas Longhorn producers looks over his calf crop and makes the decision to cull all the calves that are not of colors he likes. He sends them to the local livestock auction wholesale liquidation, never to return again. In fact many producers quickly sell at weaning time due to some lack of their desired colors. Of all breeds this is not the breed to do that.
If one were to raise black angus the calves would all be black, no spots and never would one wonder if they were going to grow wide serpentine horns. From birth an angus is what it is -- a black color, with no pasture pizzazz of any special color, or extra value attraction --- just pounds and days.
It is good to know at the day of birth what the value is. However, with the Texas Longhorn breed the waiting period may be a very profitable period. Some Texas Longhorns are born obviously bold-black speckled or mahogany and right from the start everyone knows a future brilliantly colored animal is on the way. That is nice, but does not always happen. Lets look at a few examples of changing colors that also change values in a big way. This is where only time will tell the full value story.
Iron Fisted was nearly weaning age. She was born at DCC without a speck of any roan or spots in her body color. For the most part, people would call her white. Our friend in the above paragraph would sell her at the local auction.
Iron Fisted began to develop measling roan coloration all over late in her yearling year. It was now for certain colors were changing.
Iron Fisted, today, at Glendenning Farms is still developing stronger contrast of color at age 8. Few would believe she was all white 8 years ago. Certain bloodlines have the late-roaning color factor, but some never change from birth. The pedigree will normally tell if these beautiful color factors are in the lineage. If the sire and dam don't have it, the roaning will probably not come.
Ice Pick, at DCC, was born on 4-12-20. Although a typical appaloosa spot pattern came at birth, the base color was a plain pale brown. Many Texas Longhorn calves are born with this sort of camouflage color. Just because it starts this way does not mean it will stay this pale color. In fact, few stay the birth color as they mature. Again, if the parents are that pale color it may be the life-time color.
Ice Pick, with his dam at weaning time. Neither his dam or sire were brindle. Brindle is a color that happens and may or may not have one or more brindle parents. Black on the other hand--you will need one or more black parents to have a good chance on a black calf. Ice Pick is vaguely starting to show early signs of brindling. The pale birth color is going away.
Today, Ice Pick at age 2 is a full bold-contrast brindle. Today there are no signs of the birth color. It is not unusual for young early brindling cattle to gradually grow more contrasty with darker--dark tones and more golden or red warm--light tones. Most Texas Longhorns keep getting more colorful with age for ever.
In a breed where colorful cattle have often sold for high dollars, color is big. If colors are in the pedigree, that is a first indicator. Otherwise, time always tells the story. Don't sell young cattle without taking a long--cold look at the evidence of possible color values. Texas Longhorns will mess with your head.