6 Things You Need to Know About the Scottish Highland Cow
The Highland cow is one of the most well-known domesticated animals all over the world. With their fluffy coats and long horns, they are a big part of Scottish culture and can be seen in a lot of photos, ads, and packaging. Here are six interesting things you might not know about this beautiful cow.
Highland Cow: #1 Designed just right for harsh conditions
Highland cattle are ridiculously cute. There’s no way around it. With their shaggy coats, just-out-of-bed hair, long, curved horns, and teddy-bear looks, they are great subjects for photos. But these features aren’t just for looks; they also help the cow survive harsh winters and hard places. Their thick, woolly undercoats keep them warm, and their longer guard hairs keep snow and rain off of them. Long eyelashes and a thick fringe of hair protect their eyes from stinging hail, pelting rain, bugs, and biting winds. They use their big horns to clear snow away so they can get to food (and get a good scratch!). It’s just a happy bonus that these things make them look cute.
Highland Cow: #2 The oldest breed of cattle on record in the world
In 1884, the Highland Cattle Society was set up, and the next year, the first herd book was made. At this time, in Inverness, the breed standard (which included those bangs) was talked about and set, and it hasn’t changed since. Highland cows have been written about since the sixth century, so they are a very old breed. The first written record of them is from a century before this. Today, the Queen is the patron of the Highland Cattle Society. She also has an award-winning herd, or fold, of Highland cattle, which she started at Balmoral in 1953, the year she became queen. Her fold is thought to be one of the best in the world.
Highland Cow: #3 Excellent Grade of Beef
The Highland cow is not only well-suited to the harsh climate of the Highlands and Islands, but its meat is also very tasty. Highland cattle meat is very popular because it tastes great and has 40% less fat and cholesterol than regular beef. But the Highland cow is small, so it is crossed with other cows in order to get the most beef from them. Because of this, the Highland cow has been shipped all over the world, from Scandinavia to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and even 10,000 feet up in the Andes, where they are used to turn poor upland grazing into good meat.
Highland Cow: #4 Different Colours, Different Horns, Different Names
Even though ginger is the most common color for a Highland cow, they can also be red, yellow, brindle, dun, silver, white, and even black. When they are being shown, they are groomed and their coats are made shiny and fluffy with conditioner and oils. The horns of males and females grow in different ways. The horns of bulls are thicker and curve forward, with only a small rise up near the tip, if any. The horns of cows are thinner and curve up. Also, they are longer than the horns of bulls. In Gaelic, the Highland cow is called B Ghàidhealach and in Scots, Heilan coo.
Highland Cow: #5 Grazer of Conservation
A Highland bull cow weighs about 800kg (1,800 pounds) and a cow weighs about 500kg (1,100 pounds), which is light for a cow. Because of this and the fact that they have light feet, Highland cows are great for conservation grazing, which is when rough land is grazed to make room for other species. They trample areas of bracken, which makes it easier for flowers to grow. Their poop is great for fertilizing the ground, and because they eat by pulling grass and plants up with their tongues, they don’t trim the plants as closely as nibbling sheep do. Wildflower seeds can also get stuck to animals’ fur and fall off in other places.
Highland Cow: #6 Excellent Temperament
Highland cows are known for being friendly, and they often walk up to people to get their attention. Even though they have scary horns, they never fight because they all know their place in the social order and respect it. As with all livestock, you should be careful if you are walking with a dog, and if the cows have young calves, don’t get too close to them because they can be protective. Cows are also great mothers; they can breed until they are 18 years old and raise 15 or more calves.
Topic: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Scottish Highland Cow
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By: Travel Pixy