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IMPRESSIONS We just had our #30 MAGIC50  heifer calf born, so here are all  our observations, good as bad, of  three years working with these  wonderful 50% Gir crosses. I will  try to be as objective as possible  and some of their peculiarities  might not be a feature of the Gir  breed as such, but of their sire  C.A. Sansão, as only he was used:  - Gestation length on average is  much longer than any other  breed we have used so far, most  MAGIC50 calves were born from  287 to 296 days!  - Despite of this most calvings  were easy, except calves born to  Fleckvieh cross heifers or under-  age heifers of very high percent  Bos Taurus breeding    - Long ears & quite prominent Bos Indicus looks are their trademark, large udders  and low foot angle should be watched out for and corrected in MAGIC25!  - Growth rate especially for bulls is exceptional, some MAGIC50 bulls out-weight  their same age 50% Fleckvieh herd mates by 100kg when 18 months old  - First heat on average is quite late. Although we managed to serve a couple at  our target age of 15 months old, many haven’t cycled yet at two years of age!  - Often heat signs are only expressed very poorly. Especially “standing when  mounted” is hardly ever seen. Maybe they not only share their long ears with the  donkey, but their mating ritual as well and need to be chased down to total  exhaustion before letting anybody mount them... This for me personally is the  greatest drawback, as I still love to continue to do AI with the worlds best sires!    - Temperament is much better and more placid than I expected, some few are extremely shy to the point of bolting to  the end of the farm when encountering strange humans (which definitely is of great advantage in Africa and probably  Latin America, too, to prevent them from being poached...). But all agreed to be milked.  - Of all our heifers that have calved during the last two years the 12 absolute leaders in milk production were MAGIC50  heifers, but so were the 3 total disasters. Those three we didn’t even manage to get to 10 liters per day. I suspect this to  be caused by insufficient milk let down in the early stages of their lactation. Two of the three also had a dam with over  50% Sahiwal blood, so maybe their Bos Indicus percentage was just too great.  - Their strangest habit is that of actively drinking each other’s urine. Some cows spend hours licking and stimulating  others (and this should not be mistaken for a secondary heat sign!) to cause them to urinate, after which they try to  drink as much urine as possible before it touches the ground. Whether they had such great scarcity of drinking water  where they evolved, or whether they utilize the nitrogen present in the urine in much the same way as when urea is added  to their feed rations, is a mystery to me. What a wonderful research subject for all you veterinarians to be out there!!!  - Once they are milking they put all their energy and effort into milk production. They kind of remind me of, actually even  resemble dairy goats at that stage (especially those with a higher percentage of Jersey blood in their breeding), gaunt  and skinny and not really pleasant to look at. But you really forget about their unfavourable looks when you see your milk  bucket fill up and up and up... And miraculously their fertility is not impaired in any way by their loss of body condition!  - As you can beautifully see in the two pictures below, their grazing habits are quite different from all the other cross  bred cows we have:  When conditions are perfect, they are full and satisfied and resting much earlier and longer while  everybody else is still scrambling for those few new leaves of grass. The rest of the time, when it is really dry and hot  and dusty, they keep feeding while everybody else is hiding out under the few shade trees available. While the rest of the  herd would rather die of starvation than risk leaving the shade to scratch up the last scraps of dung contaminated straw,  our MAGIC50 spend hours doing just that to keep looking nice and well fed at the worst of times!   What a wonderful cow for Africa!!!  CONCLUSION While MAGIC50 already have much better attributes than most of the cattle we have previously  bred, indisputably there are some major shortcomings. But they only are the first step on the  long way to true MAGIC! We will use the best MAGIC50 bulls on our non-Gir cross-bred cows  and many MAGIC50 cows and heifers will hopefully calve to some of the best international sires.  These then will be the MAGIC25 foundation for the MAGIC breed. What a great challenge lies  ahead of us to combine all their great qualities without carrying over any of their disadvantages!  P.S.: Some new insights:  - All three “total disaster” heifers proved to be very much o.k. in their second lactation, so low  production in  their first lactation was definitely a problem of insufficient milk-let-down!  - After having done some extensive reading and research I have come to the conclusion that the  poor or non-observable heat symptoms (although present in some of the MAGIC50 females) are  not the main issue. Gir and their high percentage crosses seem to naturally take extremely long  to come on heat after parturition. Simply can’t be compared to Bos Taurus cows!