BAIRNSLEY  HIGHLANDS

BLACK COAT COLOUR CHANGES

This is another very interesting colour that has the potential to change dramatically as the animal ages. Those that have the black gene (be it a black or a dun animal) can be born black / dun in colour but can also be born what we call 'chocolate' in colour.

Black heifer (1 week old). Black heifer born chocolate (1 week old).

Both of the above one week old calves will be pure black as adults but they both underwent some quite perplexing changes in their coat on the way. Despite their coat colour being quite different, note that both their noses are black, and both had black feet. As these two calves aged, they ended up looking quite similar at around three months old.
 

A black calf that was born black, at just over 2 months old. Same black calf as above - at 3 months old.

Note that thBlack heifer above at 8 months old.e hair is starting to fall out around the eyes and muzzle and that the undercoat Black (chocolate) calf losing it's calf coat - 5 months old.here is all black. Eventually all of this chocolate coat falls out and they go through a moth-eaten stage for a few months before they end up nearly all black by 7-8 months of age. Some will be left with some light brown tinges on their mane and dossan, especially if they are a longer coated animal, or if it is winter (both of which are the case with the heifer on the left).

Black heifer with a red tinge in the winter coat.

Black animals as adults can have a reddish tinge to their coats (as seen in the heifer on the right) in the colder months as the coat becomes longer. This tends to be mostly their first 3-4 years of life and desists beyond this age. This reddish tinge is not to be confused with the coat colour change that is similar and associated with copper deficiency. They look very similar.

The same unusual colours can be seen in dun animals but always the muzzle and feet give it away - the muzzle and feet will always have black pigment, or in this case, grey pigment. It is a bit hard to believe until you see it develop yourself over their first 12 months of life.

Dun calf bornthe normal dun colour. Dun calf born chocolate. Note the nose is grey (dun) on this chocolate calf.

The calf on the left above is the typical dun colour (note the dark grey nose). The calf in the middle will be the same adult colour as the calf on the left - the photo on the right shows this ones nose a bit closer up. All these calves will end up the same colour as the cow below.

Dun cow with dun calf at foot.