Highland cattle

 

Highland cows at blackfieldfarm.com

Highland cattle sale page

 

From time to time I will have some Scottish highland cattle for sale which I believe are some of the hardiest breeds of bovine in the world. From the highlands and outer Hebrides they are well-used to bitter rain cold and wind and will live on poor quality vegetation not suited to other breeds. Highlands are also one of the oldest breeds with some records of the breed as far back as the 6th century AD.

young highland at blackfieldfarm

At Calving

They are a very easy calving breed and will calf unassisted with small hardy calves. Be warned although usually very placid they can be very protective just after calving and I find it best to leave them be around that time or at least be cautious as they do have very long horns over two foot long on adult cows. Some people dehorn them as calves but personally I think that it kinda spoils their looks when they are missing the horns.

friendly highland at blackfieldfarm.com

Today highland cattle can be found in most countries in the world including grazing up to 10000 ft up in the Andes they are more suited to colder and wetter climates. Highlands will thrive almost anywhere and are particularly suited to conservation grazing of poor quality hill ground and bogs. If there is not enough grass they will eat heather gorse rushes bushes trees or any other vegetation.

Out Wintering

Cold winters don’t bother them either I have heard cases where they have been seen using there long horns to dig out vegetation under the snow and that they are almost as cold tolerant as the arctic dwelling caribou and reindeer. That been said though as with any animal I recommend you check they have adequate food supply and are not loosing weight under that long coat of thick hair. A bit of supplementary silage during the coldest months when there is no growth will keep them happy.

two young highland cattle at blackfieldfarmwhite highland calf at blackfieldfarm.com

It is also important as with any cattle to keep some bit of human interaction so that the calves know what a human is and that you come bearing gifts usually in the form of a bucket of beef feed not that they need it but it will keep them following you if they know what it is. For anymore info on the breed drop me a line or click on the links below

wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_cattle

www.highlandcattlesociety.com

 

8 thoughts on “Highland cattle

  1. Thank you for this post on highland cattle.

    I have not seen this particular breed before but I live in a relatively mild climate so they’re probably not suited for my area.

    I do have a question…  What are the primary use cases for this particular breed (i.e. a source of beef, milk, vegetation control, etc.)?

    They are definitely a unique looking breed.

    Thanks again,

    Scott

    1. Hi scott 

      They are an old beef breed suited to areas of poor quality grassland so they can be used for vegetation control as well. They are known as browsers meaning they will eat almost anything that grows. I heard that due to their thick winter coat that they don’t need a thick layer of fat to keep them warm so they have leaner beef 

  2. Hello, I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. I never knew that this animal could be so human-friendly because I had a bad experience with cattle last year but just like you said, it is probably because they are protective. I will tell my cousin about this, he is a farmer and maybe he would be interested in buying.

  3. I love your site. I’ve never seen cattle like this before. They are actually beautiful. Are they used as a beef source or what are the opportunities? I would assume they can be a food source. For a rancher in a volatile environment, these cattle seem very well-adapted. If they are a food source, what is the quality?

    1. Thank you paula they are a beef breed suitable for areas of rougher ground not suitable I keep them on bogland and rough grazing over the summer as it helps with conservation of rare birds like the Curlew and hen harrier which are living around our farm. The beef quality is very good too! 

  4. Hello DJ, thank you for sharing this piece of information about highland cattle. I know I have seen these in movies and pictures but I haven’t seen them live. They look rugged; no wonder they can survive bad weather and almost any condition unlike the other breed of cattle. You’re right about the horns; they’re more beautiful with the horns on them. I’d love to have a taste of the meat from it.

    Compliment of the season… 🙂

  5. Hi…thanks for sharing about your highlands and galloways..did you always have them on the farm, if not where did you source them in ireland or did you import them..
    Thanks
    Joe

    1. Hi Joe I got them from Killorglin Co Kerry and Dunmanway in Cork Some were originally imported in from Scotland by the Last owners and more born in Ireland. At the moment I would just have some young bulls coming up for sale. The galloways were brought locally and through done deal as there seems to be a good few with galloways around the country. The galloways have advantages over the highlands in that they are easy to finish are naturally fat and keep weight on even on poor quality feed they also don’t have horns which makes them easier to handle for TB testing marts etc.
      The highland have a unique look about them and a certain market but I think the galloways are more of a commercial breed.
      keep an eye on done deal as the both come up from time to time or I can let you know when I have a few for sale.

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