Unusual white Highland calf born on Norfolk farm
- Credit: James Bass
A stunning white Highland calf has been born on an east Norfolk farm.
Highland cattle are well known for their shaggy red hair and long horns, but two-week-old Snowy is not quite keeping up appearances with his all-white colouring. The youngster was born with a red-haired sibling on Manor Farm in Repps, near Great Yarmouth, and has been proving popular with passers-by for the past fortnight.
Farmer Fred Sharman, whose family has been rearing cattle in Norfolk since the 1860s, believes the calf's completely white coat is the result of a recessive gene as both his parents are red.
It is the first all-white Highland born on the farm. And it's a feature that means the youngster will be kept for breeding.
'His parents aren't registered pedigrees, but I'll keep him,' said Mr Sharman, who has Highlands as a hobby and rears Limousin, Charolais, Welsh Black, Simmental cattle for beef.
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'I've done a bit of research online and the only other all-white calf I found was born in 2009 in Devon. Apparently it's a 1000:1 chance. And he's not an albino because he hasn't got red eyes, so it must be this genetic throwback.
'It was a lovely surprise when I saw him. To be honest, I didn't go down to the field early that morning. A retired farmer had gone past and said to me two calves had been born, and one was white.
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'I thought he must be mistaken but lo and behold, when I got there I found one red and this white one.
'We've had tremendous interest from locals walking past and boats on the river. Lots of people have stopped to take photos.'
Father-of-two Mr Sharman, 53, is a fourth generation farmer and runs Manor Farm with his partner Sue. The family has been in Repps since the 1930s and run around 400 acres of field for arable crop, including barley, wheat and sugerbeet, along with a herd of 48 cattle.
Hazel Baxter, breed secretary of the Highland Cattle Society, said all-white Highlands are unusual, rather than rare.
'It does happen from time to time,' she said.
'It's due to a white gene that can be carried by either parent, and it could go as far back as a great-grand sire. It certainly looks stunning when you get a white calf in a field with the red mother and other calves.'