Highland Cows, or Scottish Highlands
Everyone involved in cattle breeding thinks about the issues of keeping and caring for the livestock. But is it possible to achieve good productivity with minimal waste of time and finance? Most often, a positive result becomes possible only with a carefully selected method of feeding and care. However, there are very unpretentious species of livestock, for example, meat breed highland cows. It is distinguished by extraordinary stamina, endurance and unpretentiousness. We will tell you about it further.
Highland Cow Breed
Origin and characteristics
Highland Cow bred on the Scottish Highlands and the western Hebrides has been exported worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century. It is believed that Celtic cattle that were not subjected to selection for a long time were the genetic ancestor of this species. Initially, the breeding stock was brown or black. Nowadays, there are black, red, spotted, yellow and silver representatives of Highland cows.
The coat of these animals is long, wavy and bilayer. The top layer is hard, curly and long hair, under which there is a soft and dense undercoat. This allows cows to withstand the cold and do without a thick layer of subcutaneous fat. The long bangs are designed to protect the eyes from gusts of wind and annoying insects.
Despite impressive horns and massive musculature, Highland cows belong to the mini group. This is due to the fact that they have a small body and their limbs are quite short. In addition, the highlands have a completely meek and calm disposition, thanks to this and unusual appearance of these charming mini-cows, many start them not for meat or milk, but for aesthetic reasons.
Conditions of detention
Highland cows are unpretentious creatures, and they can literally eat everything they find under their feet. Their digestive system is designed in such a way that they can even digest coarse fiber - livestock will also gain weight by eating pasture. Intensive feeding is not necessary for these cows, and to get a refined dietary meat from the breeder, minimal effort is required. A small top dressing may be required in winter, but if the place of keeping is located near a forest or other place where animals can feed on their own, you can also not worry about this.
Cows staying in a hotel most often without problems and complications. The heifers themselves breed young animals, however, in the cold season, especially at abnormal sub-zero temperatures, the calves may need additional heating.
Highlands cannot be kept on a leash, as this entails a loss of mass. They need extensive space for grazing and self-seeking food. Ideal for these animals will be kept in a large corral, while you can keep them there in large herds.
The homeland of Highland cows is a rainy and windy place, so no additional equipment is needed to protect the cows from the weather. The main thing is that there should be a canopy under which cattle can take shelter from rain or snow. Due to the genetic memory of places where there is little food, a huge herd will need a very small amount of food, so they will not harm the environment.
Highland cows are not intended for breeding in the tropics and subtropics. Because of their thick coat, they can hardly tolerate heat and high humidity. The animal’s life in such a climate will be short-lived and painful, so breeders from hot countries should refrain from acquiring cattle of this breed.
The main advantage of this breed is its unpretentiousness. For the maintenance of highlands does not require a special room. If there is a large space for walking and grazing animals, you only need to install canopies, and in the absence of the natural possibilities of a watering place - drinking bowls.
Highland cows also have the following advantages:
- Thanks to their unpretentiousness described above, the owner does not need to spend a large amount of money on care and maintenance.
- Highlands are famous for their excellent health. They are insensitive to most viruses that cause disease in other breeds of cows.
- They endure the cold, even the most extreme.
- The representatives of the Highland breed breed intensively, while the mortality rate of newborn calves is very low.
- These cows live very long - up to 15 years.
- Due to the lack of a large fat layer, their meat is truly dietary and very tasty.
- The undoubted advantage is their meek disposition, thanks to which Highland cows can seamlessly coexist with other domestic animals.
The main product obtained from cows of this breed, meat, has undoubted advantages. Let's consider some of them:
- Thanks to a small amount of subcutaneous fat, highland meat is a true dietary product. It is recommended for use by people with diseases of the stomach and intestines.
- The meat contains a minimal amount of cholesterol, therefore it can be included in the use by elderly and suffering from diseases of the heart and vascular system.
- Highland meat is rich in protein and iron to a much greater extent than other beef.
- The products have a delicate taste and pleasant texture.
- Meat is a healthy and nutritious food.
Despite their small size, Highland cows can gain impressive weight throughout their lives. The average weight of one adult female is half a centner, while a bull can weigh 750 kg.
Cows are first accommodated at the age of 3 years. The weight of the calf is on average from 11 to 16 kg. The ability to give offspring in animals persists until 18-20 years, but they are usually used only up to 10, because the meat of an old cow loses its properties and is considered second-rate.
The ideal slaughter age for a bull is 1-3 years. By this age, they are gaining enough weight, and their meat is the most tender.
Highland Mini Cow Breeding
More recently, highlands in Russia were a curiosity. Now this breed is gradually gaining popularity, because it is ideal for breeding in the Russian climatic zones.
Breeding mini highland cows is a profitable and promising occupation. Once invested in the purchase of males and females, you can do business in the production of selected beef or engage in breeding and sale of young individuals. Also, these charming creatures can be acquired and distributed for decorative purposes: they are very friendly and playful creatures.