In the beginning of the description
Highland is a Scottish breed of cows. These animals have big pointy horns and thick fur of different colours: black, red, yellow, gold or silver. Under the first layer of hair, which can reach up to 30 centimetres, there is a thick undercoat. When it is cold, the coat becomes thicker and during summer, the unnecessary layer is shed. Apart from the coat, another distinctive feature of the cows is the burning red mane. It protects the animals from eye infections and insects. The breed is short and stocky. Their legs are short, but strong enough to scale mountain slopes. Males weigh about 800 kilograms, the height is 90–106 cm. A new-born male calf weighs about 23–25 kg, while a female weighs 20–22 kg.
Of course, the number one use of the Highland breed is their meat. Since the subcutaneous fat layer is very thin, their meat is a true diet product. This is why it is recommended for people with stomach and intestinal issues. In addition, the meat contains the minimum amount of cholesterol so it is suitable for elderly people suffering from cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, the meat is richer in protein and iron than any other beef. Besides, the meat is not only nutritious, but also soft and has a pleasant taste.
As already mentioned, the breed is very undemanding. Intensive feeding is not suitable. This means minimal effort for high-quality meat. The Highland cows find their own food and mainly eat grass. They can go long distances in search of food so large pastures are a necessity. The cows feed themselves and can find grass even in the highest colds. Of course, in severe winters it is recommended to feed them hay, straws and water. Mainly, the Highlands eat only grass and feel fine all year round.
History of the breed
The place of origin of the Highland breed is Scotland. The Highlands come from two cattle breeds. The first (Kyloe) emigrated from the coasts of the eastern islands of Scotland. They were slightly smaller and often black. The second breed is the big brown cattle that lived in the high lands of Northwest Scotland. Due to severe weather conditions and natural selection, a unique breed was born. This breed do not require special attention. They have a strong immune system and calm character. In the early twentieth century, the Highland breed was exported in large to various parts of the world. They gained most popularity in North America, Australia as well as in Central Europe.
Maintenance of the Highland cows
As mentioned above, the Highland cows are very undemanding animals. This is a big advantage, because their care will not be a big problem. They can be shepherded throughout the year. A prerequisite is a large territory. Within it, the only requirement is a fence and a shed so the animals can hide from rain or snow. Northern climate is the most suitable for the Highlands. They can endure even the harshest colds, because they are protected by a dense layer of fur. The animals deal with heat very poorly so keeping them in a subtropical climate is impossible.
The Highland breed is most common in North America, Central Europe and Australia. This shows that the breed adjusts well to different climatic conditions. In the summer, if the cows get too hot, they can shed their thick coat and then grow it back when the cold starts nearing. In addition, this breed is not choosy with food and requires little care. The cows can eat everything they find under their hooves. Their digestive system is built in a way that allows them to digest even the roughest fibers. The Highland breed does not require intensive feeding and good diet meat can be obtained with minimum effort. The cattle should be fed more during severe colds, but if they are kept near a forest, even this should not be much of a worry, because they can find their own food. Calving should not be a problem either. The Highland breed breeds very quickly with the low mortality of the calves. The cows give birth and raise their offspring on their own. Only during severe colds the calves need additional heating. In addition, this breed tolerates different climatic conditions well so additional weatherproof structures to protect the cows are unnecessary. The important thing is to have a shed where the cattle could hide from rain or snow. Besides, the cows are very resistant to diseases and viruses. Their life expectancy is quite long, up to 30 years.
Pros and cons of the breed
The Highland breed has many pros and very few cons. As pros, we can mention their incredible resilience. They are able to endure the most severe colds. Also, their immune system is invulnerable to, virtually, any viruses. It should also be mentioned that the cows are very low-maintenance. The breed does not require special premises. Another pro is their high life expectancy and very easy reproduction. A great advantage of these animals is their calm temper. The Highland cows have look threatening and have big horns, but they can get along with both wild and domestic animals. Only when put in danger do the animals become aggressive.
The Highland breed has virtually no cons although there are some that can be named. Unfortunately, the Highland cows are not those that give milk, but this is compensated by the low maintenance and high meat output. These cows can be bred in different countries, with the exception of the subtropical climate. Despite the fact that the cows can endure the most adverse weather conditions and high humidity, extreme heat is not their forte. Their upkeep is complicated by the fact that the cows need a large area to live and feed. It is strictly forbidden to keep the cows on a leash, as this will lead to weight loss.