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April snow helped camouflage albino calf

Tina Vanasse, owner of a Spring Valley farm said the mom of their albino calf is a shorthorn cross and offers her own unique color. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Al Bundy, an albino beef calf, was born on Tina and Mitch Vanasse's Spring Valley farm on April 19. At first Tina said she didn't realize it was even a calf because it blended in with the snow. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
Albino calf, Al Bundy, is seen with his mom at Tina and Mitch Vanasse's Spring Valley farm. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
Hereford bull Donnie is the dad to albino calf Al Bundy who was born April 19 on a Spring Valley farm. Sara Tischauser / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

Two Spring Valley farm owners have had a lot of publicity lately as one of their new arrivals made its appearance in mid-April.

Tina Vanasse, who owns a farm outside of Spring Valley with her husband Mitch, said she was going out to do a routine check on the herd on April 19 when she found a surprise.

"All the sudden there was a little clump," Vanasse said when she first spotted what turned out to be an albino calf. "All the sudden it poked its head up and I realized it wasn't a clump of snow."

Vanasse said at first she thought it was just a white calf, which can happen with shorthorns.

"I know shorthorns have been known here and there to throw a white calf," Vanasse said. "But it had a pink nose and ears."

When Vanasse saw the pink nose and ears she realized this was an albino calf, which they have never had on their farm before. Now, Al Bundy has drawn a lot of publicity and media attention. Vanasse said they have talked about possibly showing Al at the Pierce County Fair, but she is unsure if that will work out or not.

Al's father is a Hereford bull and his mother is a Shorthorn, neither of which are albino, or even white.

The Vanasse farm has 48 head of adult breeding stock. Vanasse said they have been on their farm for 11 years, but have had cattle for 18 years. They started their herd with calves her husband received.

"He [Mitch] had acquired some [calves] from doing some custom combine [work]," Vanasse said. "Payment was calves. We started the herd. It has grown since then."

Vanasse said living on a farm and teaching their four boys the farm life has been important to her and her husband.

"It's a lifestyle," Vanasse said. "This is still what has the down-to-earth roots that built this country."

She believes raising their children on the farm can help them understand food and gain responsibility.

"It's a great way to raise kids and help them understand where food comes from," Vanasse said.

Mitch is a truck driver, so when he is home the youngest two boys like to ride along with dad around the farm. She said the oldest two boys already help with chores and feeding the cattle.

With their albino calf Al getting so much attention, Vanasse said maybe it will give more people an appreciation of the beef industry.

"It's a uniqueness to have him [Al] around," Vanasse said. "It's helping raise awareness of the beef industry."