This breed was formed early in this century by improved feeding and management of the local Lithuanian cattle, assortative mating and mass selection and crossing with the improved breeds: Ayrshire, Angeln, Dutch, Danish Red, Swiss Brown and Shorthorn. The crosses were selected for milk production. Most animals are of clearly defined dairy type.
Basic measurements of the pedigree cows (in cm) are as follows: withers height 126, oblique body length 157, chest width 43, chest depth 69, chest girth 188, cannon bone girth 19. Coat color is red. The average live weight of cows is 470 kg; those in the herdbook weigh 520 kg and bulls 750 kg. The young stock of the Lithuanian Red breed are noted for their rapid growth rate, good food conversion and high carcass quality. When intensively fattened, steers weigh 413 kg as yearlings and 503 kg Rlaen 15 months old. Up to the age of 15 months one kg of gain requires 5.32 feed units.
The dressing percentage is 58.6 and proportion of meat 81.6%. The average daily gain of steers from 6 to 15 months of age is 1032 g. The milk yield of 83 500 mature cows was 3362 kg with 3.69% fat; 2700 cows at pedigree farms produced 4337 kg with 3.87% fat. The record holders of the Red Lithuanian breed are as follows: Sloga 35 - 7th lactation, 10 754 kg milk, 4.20% fat; Zhabine 1355 - 4th, 10,242 kg, 4.33%; Gerve 1246 - 6th, 10,196 kg, 4.09%. The breed consists of 18 lines and related groups.
The best bulls are kept at Pasval, Shaulyai and Vilnius breeding centers. The average milk yield of the nearest female ancestors of these bulls ranges from 6346 to 7210 kg and the fat content is 4.39-4.72%. The Lithuanian Red breed is found in 18 districts in the north and northeast of the Lithuanian SSR. In 1980 the total population was 567 000. Up to 10 000 head of young pedigree stock are exported annually to the Kazakh, Uzbek and other Soviet republics. The program for the improvement of Lithuanian Red cattle, along with pure breeding, envisages the use of Danish Red and Angeln bulls to form high butterfat lines. Blood group analysis has shown that the tiomozygosity rate is fairly low (6.8%). It points to a high heterogeneity of Lithuanian Red cattle and to a great potential for improvement by accumulating the useful genes.
Reference:Dmitriez, N.G. and Ernst, L.K. (1989) Animal Genetic Resources of the USSR. Animal Production and Health Paper Publ. by FAO, Rome, 517 pp.Photographs:Dmitriez, N.G. and Ernst, L.K. (1989) Animal Genetic Resources of the USSR. Animal Production and Health Paper Publ. by FAO, Rome, 517 pp.