Albera Cows
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About Albera CattleAbout Albera Cattle



Albera are an endangered breed of small cattle indigenous tornthe Albera Massif, which divides Catalonia from France and lies partly in therncomarca of Alt Emporda in the Catalan province of Girona, and partly in therncomarca of Vallespir in the French departement of Pyrenees-Orientales.



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Although the presence of a cattle breed in the Albera Massifrnwas noted in the nineteenth century, the first description of the Albera datesrnfrom 1957. At that time three sub-types were distinguished within the breed: arndark-coated type; a variable paler type; and a third type deriving fromrncross-breeding with Braunvieh stock. More recently, the types are considered tornbe two: the Negra, or dark type, and the Fagina, or paler type. In 1999 thernFagina type was found to be genetically closer to the Bruna de los Pirineosrnbreed than to the Albera Negra type.

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A breeders' association, the Associació de Ramaders de larnVaca de l'Albera, was founded in 2008. The Albera breed received officialrnrecognition on 27 July 2011; a breed standard was approved, and a herd bookrnestablished. At the end of 2014 the total population was recorded as 763, ofrnwhich 618 were female and 145 male.

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Albera are highly resistant to cold, though susceptible tornheat, and are well adapted to the steep terrain of the Albera Massif. They arernkept year-round in semi-feral conditions, at an altitude between 200 and 1000 meters,rnforaging for food including the shoots and mast of the beech trees of thernmassif. They have little contact with man, and little productive capacity: cowsrncalve every two years, and produce barely enough milk for the calf; meat yieldrnis very low, of the order of 35-40percent. The cattle are used in vegetationrnmanagement: by clearing undergrowth they help to prevent forest fires.



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