The Maine-Anjou cattle breed otherwise known as the Rouge des Pres in France is a breed of cattle which originated from the county of Anjou located in the western regions of France during the mid-1800s.
This county has historically been known for its lush grasslands and easily cultivated soil for raising cattle breeds used in producing an excellent quality of beef. The Maine-Anjou cattle breed was first developed in 1908 in Chenille-Change by the President of the Association des agriculteurs Viscount Oliver de Rouge of the House of Rouge where the Maine-Anjou cattle have been traditionally bred solely for the production of beef.
During the early part of the 19th century cattle breeds within the regions of France were observed to have a large frame in their build than other breeds of found in other countries. In France the breeds were highly muscular well-built animals often found having a traditionally red coat with distinctive white spots on its belly, head, tail and tear legs.
The Maine-Anjou breed today are found having solid color patterned coats often seen as black and white, black, red or sometimes black and roan. The Maine-Anjou cattle breed were once commonly known as the Micelle cattle breed as they were favored for their quick growth rate their large built frame and muscular build.
The typical Maine-Anjou bull will weigh between 1000 to 1400 kilograms or 2200 to 3100 pounds with the average mature Maine-Anjou cow weighing between 680 to 860 kilograms or 1500 to 1900 pounds.
The Maine-Anjou cattle breed is highly recognized among ranchers for their feed efficiency, temperament, performance, and quality meat produced from carcass. The breed are traditionally has mainly bred as a beef bred cattle for their high quality meat. Their feed efficiency and large build allows the breed to yield a high quality marbled beef.
The Maine-Anjou cows are often seen as a preferred cattle breed as they have been found to exhibit exceptional maternal instincts in addition to low difficulty when calving.
The newborn calves and moderately sized at birth quickly reaching high weaning weights as a result go the natural heavy milking ability of the cows. Ranchers have found the Main-Anjou cattle to display a docile temperament allowing the breed to be quite manageable while grazing on the pasture in the feedlot and during auctions and shows.
In addition the breed has been often favored in crossbreeding programs where they have been used in crossbreeding with various cattle such as the Angus cattle breed producing a hybrid breed possessing their large sturdy frame, coat, and temperament.
However one of the disadvantages in crossbreeding the Maine-Anjou is the breed is often never recognized as most buyers and not familiar with the cattle breed.
Count de Falloux, a land owner imported the Durham cattle from England successfully mating the breed with the local Mancelle cattle.
The process resulted in the development of a hybrid cattle bred known as the Durham-Mancelle cattle breed in 1850 where they were awarded first place at the local French agricultural fairs.
The Society of Durham-Mancelle Breeders was founded in 1908 at the Chateau-Gontier which was located within the Mayenne district. The Society amended its name a year later in 1909 to be known as the Society of Maine-Anjou Cattle Breeders in recognition of the Anjou and Maine river valleys in the region.
The Society of Maine-Anjou Cattle Breeders has over the years since its establishment maintained a steady development and preservation of the Maine-Anjou breed as many of the local ranchers and breeders located within France were found to be small time farmers whose aim was mainly to maximize their source of income for their families from their available land.
This necessity allowed the Main-Anjou cattle to be bred as a dual purpose cattle breed as cows were used in the production of milk while the bulls were used for providing a source of beef. Today there are still some farms where the Main-Anjou cows are bred by ranchers and cattlemen for their production of milk, observing one half of the herd to be bred and milked while the other half are bred for raising the calves. Although the Maine-Anjou cow has a much smaller udder when compared to the traditional cow, the quality of the produced cream is of an excellent quality which can be observed in the breed’s calf production.
The French bred Maine-Anjou cows were traditionally milked using milking machines.
The Maine-Anjou cattle breeds have been traditionally found to display longevity with the oldest Maine-Anjou living for periods up to 22 to 26 years.
In 1969 the Main-Anjou cattle breed was first introduced to North America and Canada through the process of artificial insemination. The breed was quickly adopted by several cattlemen and ranchers due to their exceptional and desired traits within the cattle industry.
The Main-Anjou Society Incorporated was established within the same year and included both members from North America and Canada.
The Society in 1971 changed its name to the International Maine-Anjou Association establishing a base of operations within the Livestock Exchange Building located in the city of Kansas in the state of Missouri. In 1976 the name was changed to the American Maine-Anjou Association and is located today in the Platte City found in Missouri.
Within the United States of America, the Maine-Anjou cattle breed is solely bred as beef cattle able to compete in state fair shows and expositions. This growing popularity of the breed they have been recognized within the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States by “club calf” breeders.
The American Maine-Anjou Association actively provides members with cattle performance data, dates of events and shows, member services and cattle sales, transfers and registrations.
Ranchers and cattle men can actively purchase seed stock from a number of farms and breeders including: