The most resistant breeds are mini-cows "Highland". Food is found in any weather, even under snow and stones, they do not get sick, they feel great outside a warm stall. The only negative is that they give little milk, but the meat is extremely tasty.
Description and appearance of the breed
The Highlands owe their unusual appearance to the harsh nature of the area where they appeared - the north of Scotland, the high mountains with rains and the strongest winds. Long wool protects from the cold, and curved horns help to find food on rocky terrain. Although their ancestors are considered large animals, this breed is from representatives of mini-cows, which became the symbol of Scotland.
Highlands willingly bred in other countries, but more as an exotic option. Externally, small calves resemble amazing plush toys, and by their nature they are calm and unpretentious.
Scottish breed appearance:
- Housing. It looks disproportionate, with a strong build, these cows have short legs. Good resilience is genetically engineered so that they can cleverly and quickly climb mountains.
- Head. The muzzle is large, the jaws are powerful, the eyes are wide-set.
- Neck. Straight, small size, the bulls clearly visible ridge.
- Chest. Wide and deep, but without dewlap.
- Back. Powerful, rounded.
- Horn. Huge, with pointed ends, excellent protection against wild animals, in particular, from the puma and the wolf.
- Wool. In appearance - very tight and curled. The unique difference - is located in two layers, protecting from enemies no worse than sharp horns. The outer layer is made of hard fibers, the inner layer is very soft. Thanks to this wool, cows have no need for subcutaneous fat. And also - in expensive, warmed barns and shelters on pastures. These cows can quietly sleep in the snow.
- Color There are different:
- the black,
- yellow brown
- Bang. In the Highlands - long, falling on the forehead. She has several functions:
- It protects the eyes from infection, the carriers of which can be insects,
- protects from snow and rain,
- flies away animals from flies, mosquitoes and gadflies.
- Legs. Short, but very strong, animals of the Scottish breed easily overcome mountain paths and long transitions.
- Weight. It ranges from 400 to 800 kg.
- Growth. On average, adults reach 110-120 cm, but breeding bulls can blow up to 130 cm.
The Highlands have a lot of sebaceous glands, the fat covers the coat and gives extra protection from the cold.
Origin and distribution
This breed was bred to the North-Scottish Highlands and the Outer Hebrides, crossing 2 types: black - from the islands, and red - from the highlands. In 1885, they were entered in the register as cattle, the local population called such cows "kyloes". They planned to initially breed for good milk yields, but then they became convinced that their meat was much better. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Highlands began to spread throughout the world, and gained special popularity in North America and Australia.
- For the sake of experiment in 2013, these breeds were brought to Herzberg Berlin Park. The effect exceeded expectations, these peaceful, kind animals became the subject of adoration of both children and adults.
- Today, even the Queen of Great Britain has her own small flock - about 100 Highland breeds. Keep them on pastures in the castle Balmoral.
- They belong to dwarf breeds, although they have large horns and massive muscles.
Scientists believe that the Highlands are ideal for breeding in Russian climatic zones.
The distinctive external features possessed by the Scottish variety are long, wavy hair and impressive horn sizes. Black, yellow, dun and red colors prevail in coat color. Often you can meet spotted representatives of this species.
These animals are small and squat, they have powerful short legs and long hair. Under the bristle hair, which can reach 30 centimeters, hides a fluffy undercoat. In winter, the wool becomes thicker, and in the summer all the excess is discarded. Ostev hair has a straight or wavy shape.
A distinctive feature of this breed is bangs. It protects the cow’s face from insects and also reduces the risk of eye infections.
Short legs allow you to easily and quickly overcome the mountain slopes. The animal is fully capable of defending itself against predators. Long, pointed horns can be a powerful argument.
The main characteristics possessed by the Highland cow:
- adult animal reaches 110-130 cm at the withers,
- the average weight of a bull is 650-670 kg, cows - 450-550 kg,
- long curved horns,
- straight, long neck with a pronounced crest in males,
- deep, moderately wide chest, arched ribs, lacking dewlap,
- rounded back
- several quarters already
- powerful and short legs,
- the head is proportional to the body,
- eyes set wide apart.
The body shape of the cow, its habitat and origin determined the goals of its breeding. This is a meat breed.
Today, this animal can be found in many zoos in the world. Due to its small size and unusual, attractive appearance, this type of cattle is considered to be quite exotic.
High-quality, animal-rich meat is the main product obtained by breeding high-mountain breed. Not to mention the benefits of this product:
- tastes great, resembles the meat of wild animals,
- good for health and nutritionally
- low fat content due to the presence of thick, warm wool that protects the animal from cold,
- low cholesterol, meat is harmless to people with cardiovascular diseases,
- It is this beef variety that contains the highest amount of iron and proteins.
On average, representatives of this breed live up to 25 years. However, bulls go to slaughter in 2-3 years: at this age their meat has optimal characteristics. Individuals are usually slaughtered by 10 years, since the meat of older individuals is unsuitable for human consumption.
On average, the highlands are able to produce from 3 to 5 liters of milk per day, therefore the breeding of these animals for the purposes of dairy production is irrelevant in our day.
By the third year of their lives, chicks are ready for the birth of offspring. The newborn bull usually weighs 23-25 kg, and the female - 20-22 kg. This is a late-ripening breed, which accounts for the average rates of weight gain.
Care and maintenance
The Scottish Highlands are very unpretentious animals. They can be grazed throughout the year. For the content it is enough to equip a pen and place in it several sheds. The latter will serve as animal shelter in rainy or snowy weather, in extreme cases, young stock may require special attention in winter.
Care for the young
It feels best in the latitudes of temperate and northern climate. Thick wool cover protects livestock from even the most severe cold, but these animals withstand the heat with difficulty.
Lack of genetic pathologies and resistance to infectious diseases greatly simplify the breeding of the Highlands.
Extensive type of feeding predominates. Animals feel great, for a long time eating exclusively pasture. Most of the plants that are not suitable for other herbivores, Scottish cows eat regularly. This variety of cattle is often used to update pastures that have been destroyed by goats or sheep.
To search for food, the Highlands use a wide muzzle and sharp horns, simultaneously removing the turf from the soil. This leads to the subsequent growth of young, grass-rich herbs.
The territory for grazing should be huge. Cows can travel long distances in search of food. Even from under the snow cover, they will extract grass. However, in the winter, it is still recommended to leave feeding the animals.
Pros and cons of breeding breed
Highland has the following advantages:
- endurance, unpretentiousness (cows easily tolerate cold and inclement weather, do not require a special approach to feeding),
- simplicity of the content (it is enough to equip a pen and canopies),
- strong immune system (congenital resistance to infections, low percentage of colds),
- longer life expectancy (average 25 years, 20 of which cows remain productive),
- low mortality rate among young stockings (minimal human intervention is required),
- calm disposition (except for a female with a calf, the cow becomes quite aggressive when it comes to protecting her offspring),
- additional utilitarian benefits (by searching for food, animals contribute to the restoration of pastures).
The disadvantages of Scottish cows are few:
- low milk production,
- these cows will not be able to grow in an intensive way due to the slow weight gain,
- It is necessary to have extensive grazing areas,
- the breed will feel bad in southern and continental climatic zones.
Highland Scottish cows are an excellent specimen of cattle, which are bred primarily for nutritious, dietary meat. This breed is able to provide side benefits, eating almost all types of plants and simultaneously restoring herbs in meadows and pastures.
On the body of the Highlands is a lot of sebaceous glands. Fat is exuded by covering wool. This is an additional protection against cold in winter, and against insects in summer. If the calf is cold, he hides near the cow, under her woolen skirt.
Aberdeen-Angus breed of cattle
The breed of cows was bred in Scotland. Conducted selector work with the local population of cattle in two counties: Forfarshire and Bakan (Aberdeen). Two breeds, the Bakan-Hamlis and Angus-Doddys, were crossed. The selectors set the task to improve the meat characteristics of livestock. The works were carried out for almost 80 years. The tribal book was instituted in 1879.
The color of the animals is black. Livestock komoloye. Animals are strong, with a muscular physique. The height of the bull at the withers is 150 cm, cows 135 cm. The head is massive, the neck is short and wide. Hump on the neck. The back is straight, the sides are barrel-shaped. For the Aberdeen-Angouss exterior, all signs of meat productivity are characteristic. The limbs are strong. Animals are hardy. They can go without water for a long time, travel long distances in search of good pastures.
- The calf is born weighing 40-45 kg. Calving is without complications. Calves grow fast. At the end of the dairy period, at 8 months, bulls weigh 200 kg.
- The weight of an adult bull is 1 ton, cows - 800 kg. Goby for slaughter in 14-16 months. At this time, their weight reaches 800 kg.
- Chicks quickly gain weight. The first insemination they spend in 14 months. The life of the cows to 16-18 calving.
- Meat productivity 70%. Cows have low milk yield - 1200 kg per lactation. Fat content 4%.
- Aberdeen Angus easily tolerate both heat and cold weather. They feel well and in the warm steppes of Australia, and in the more severe forests of Scotland.
For Aberdeen Angus recommended a temperate climate. If winters in the region are mild, there are no severe frosts, then cowsheds do not build animals. All summer they spend on pastures, in winter in open pens under a canopy. In regions with a harsh winter, livestock are placed in barns. The optimum temperature in the room is +5 C.
Aberdeen-angussov is often used to improve the meat productivity of other animals and for breeding new breeds of cattle. Thus appeared the Branguses, the Jamaican black cow, the barzones. The meat of the Scottish bulls is distinguished by a marble pattern. It is juicy, non-greasy. Differs taste.
Aberdeen-Angus breed of cows for meat purposes
Livestock Scotland is focused not only on the livestock of cattle. Dairy cows are also bred here. They pay great attention to breeding new breeds. In Scotland, the Ayrshire breed was bred, which is known for its high milk production. In terms of milk yield, the Scottish cows lose only to the Holstein population.
We get acquainted with a detailed description of all the characteristics of the breed.
Before you begin to describe the Highland cows, you probably still need to clarify what the essence of extensive farming and animal breeding is.
Unlike intensive, when the main goal is to obtain high productivity from animal husbandry or growing plants, for which any funds and resources are attracted, extensive production does not imply any costs at all.
In this case, in order to increase the productivity of the farm, it can only increase the sowing area, or, alternatively, the area of pastures.
Another very option for animal husbandry, which involves increasing profits without costs - is the use of special breeds of animals that have extensive areas of keeping and breeding.
Excursion to the genetic characteristics of the origin of the breed
The breed of Highland cows is one of the oldest. Its homeland is Scotland, where the original livestock herders could artificially produce the most unpretentious animal in the care, perfectly adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of the northern latitudes.
The genetic basis of these cows is made up of Celtic aboriginal cattle, the characteristics and characteristics of which for a very long time did not plunge into selection.
Although the progenitors of the Highlands were large animals, the breed in question is a representative of mini-cows.
For very many years, this breed has become a symbol of its homeland and a real exotic for other countries.
The fact is that animals of the described breed differ very coarse and long hair and unusually long bangs, as well as the small size of the body.
With all this, nature has rewarded this breed with very large and massive horns, with which they are independently able to protect themselves from predators in the wild. Many people breed Highland mini cows not even for passive meat production, but for aesthetic enjoyment of their unusual exterior.
What are the features and distinctive features of Highland mini-cows?
As we have already said, this breed is not at all familiar to us, although the conditions of the middle climatic zone are perfect for its breeding and maintenance.
The most important and distinguishing feature of the Highland mini-cows is extensive type of beef production.
By the way, intensive feeding does not suit them at all, professional farmers do not recommend using it. At the same time, with minimal effort from this cattle, you can get real diet meat of very high quality.
This breed can literally eat pasture. Moreover, even where wild animals cannot find food, Highland cows will still manage to gain weight, as even shrubs and coarse grass can be their food.
The fact is that in their homeland these animals live in mountainous areas, where there is very little food, high windiness, low temperature and a lot of precipitation.
Therefore, keeping nearby a home farm, where animals can hide under a shelter specially built for them during rain or snow, would be just perfect for them. And the amount of food consumed by an animal is even less than that of an ordinary sheep.
Thus, even the very large in number of herds of Highland mini-cows can be kept in one large pen, since they will lack food and the landscape of the area they will not harm.
Content in open space should be provided to them throughout the year, and this concerns not only representatives of the pure breed, but also its hybrids. Of course, that winter will need to feed a little cowshowever, if the grazing zone for them is very large and includes woodlands, then even this can be forgotten.
During the winter period of time, attention may be needed only to young animals, especially when lowering the indicators of the thermometer to very low temperatures. Although, the process of calving in Highland cows is quite easy, does not require additional interventions and very rarely causes complications in animals.
Growing young stock is also a prerogative of the cows themselves, better than whom no one will care for the little calves.
What advantages of the breed should pay attention
The first main advantage of this breed is that it does not require special premises for maintenance. In the presence of large areas of farming or hunting, you will only need to install on its perimeter special sheds and, if necessary, drinkers with troughs.
Thus, the costs of maintenance and care are immediately reduced to a minimum. This unusual way of breeding the Highlands is facilitated by the following characteristics:
- Incredible resilience and ability to endure the most adverse weather conditions.
Иммунная система Хайлендов не подвергается воздействию практически никаких вирусов и заболеваний, характерных обычным коровам.
Of course, this is primarily due to the lack of contact with other domestic animals from which these diseases could be transmitted, and secondly, the genetic origin and characteristics of the breed: long and thick hair, as well as the compact size of the body help to resist the rain and wind, contribute to thermoregulation.
Despite the fact that the Highlands are most adapted to the northern cold climate, their adaptability allowed the breed to spread to wider ranges.
Today, these mini-cows have already ceased to be a wonder even for central Russia, and even more so for its northern territories.
The breed has a high lifespan.
Besides the fact that the Highland mini-cows breed very intensively and seamlessly, one female can breed new offspring for 25 years of its life.
Thus, besides the lack of care for the herd of cows, it will also be able to independently reproduce, while requiring minimal human intervention.
The great dignity of the breed is also a very calm disposition of cows, which is difficult to see from the first time behind their harsh views and large horns.
They can coexist without problems on the same space as with other pets, and with wild ones. Their aggressiveness is manifested only in a situation of real danger and a threat to life.
Cows also have a well-developed maternal instinct. It is because of this that the productivity of the offspring in the breed is unusually high, since the cases of death of calves are practically not encountered.
Breed disadvantages: difficulty keeping
The disadvantages of this breed are very difficult to voice, since there are practically none. Of course, these are not the cows from which we are accustomed to preach milk, but this disadvantage is more than compensated for by large quantities of meat and the lack of need for care and feed.
Practically everyone has the opportunity to breed mini-cows of the Highland breed, with the exception of residents of a subtropical climate. After all, in spite of its endurance practically to any conditions, due to the thick wool, the cows endure very bad heat and high humidity.
Therefore, even if you become attached to these mini-cows because of their pretty appearance, keeping them in a hot climate will be a real torment for them, and no food and special additives will help the animal to live.
The complexity of the content also lies in the fact that the breed must need large amounts of land area for livelihoods and food search.
That is, in the usual conditions of the barn and grazing in confined spaces they can not be maintained.
Also, it is strictly forbidden to keep the Highlands on a leashbecause it will only lead to loss of mass, and not to its acquisition. It is important that to keep this breed better herds, then they will be even better adapted to the existence in open space, increase their productivity.
Other special characteristics of the Highlands
Special attention should be paid to the suit of the Highland mini-cows. Traditionally, their wool has a mountain brown color. But still, there are individuals of silver color, black, grayish-brown or even yellowish-brown.
Most often, such unusual suits fall among the hybrids of the breed. Their wool is long and very coarse. The bang has a greater length, which serves as protection against insects.
Their bodies are also a bit unusual, not for nothing that they belong to mini-breeds. In particular, with a rather impressive body size, the legs of the cows are very smallalthough very strong.
Under natural habitat conditions, this factor has a positive effect on the adaptability of existence in the mountains and lowlands. Their muzzle is short, their jaws are very powerful.
Since the Highlands are representatives of the meat breed, their muscles are developed unusually well. This factor is not so much contributed by genetic factors, as a mobile way of life.
What kind of productivity can the cows of the described breed provide?
Despite the fact that Highland cows belong to mini-breeds, with free keeping and sufficient food base, adults are able to gain impressive weight.
Thus, the average mass of a single adult cow can vary from 450 to 550 kilograms, while the bulls can even reach 750 kilograms. Thus, the performance of the meat of this breed is quite high.
These cows are able to give the first offspring at the age of 38-39 months, that is, already in the third year of life. Wherein, calves are also born large enoughWith an average weight of 20 to 25 kilograms.
Genetic predisposition to long life contributes to the fact that the cow remains capable of reproduction even after 18 years. But, usually for this purpose they are used only up to 10 years, since a very old cow will not be suitable for slaughter for meat.
The best age for the slaughter of bulls is 2-2.5 years.
First, by this time they already have time to gain maximum indicators of their mass, and secondly - their meat at this age is the most tender and nutritious.
By the way, Highland meat also has a large number of advantages:
- Excellent taste, which is a bit like the taste of game.
Despite the fact that the Highland meat has good nutritional value, it remains very useful for the human body.
Beef obtained from Highland cows refers to those groups of meat that contain the minimum amount of fat. This contributes to the presence of thick wool that protects animals from cold. In other breeds, the subcutaneous layer of fat plays the role of wool.
This meat is useful for people suffering from heart disease, because it contains a very low level of cholesterol.
Thus, it can be concluded that the maintenance and breeding of mini-cows of the Highland breed is a very profitable and easy occupation.
Having invested initial capital in the purchase of individuals of the male and female sex, without spending money on fodder and the construction of sheds, in a few years you will be more than able to return your money through the sale of meat. Good profits can come through the sale of young cows.
Origin and characteristics
The Highland cow bred in the Scottish Highlands and the Western Hebrides has been exported worldwide since the beginning of the 20th century. It is believed that the Celtic cattle that were not selected for a long time were considered the genetic progenitor of this species. Initially, the breeding livestock had a brown or black color. Nowadays there are black, red, spotted, yellow and silver representatives of highland cows.
The hair of these animals is long, wavy and double-layered. The top layer is a hard, curly and long hair, under which is a soft and dense undercoat. This allows cows to endure cold and do without a thick layer of subcutaneous fat. Long bangs designed to protect the eyes from gusts of wind and annoying insects.
Despite the 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 rather short. Plus, the Highlands have a very meek and calm disposition, thanks to this unusual look of these charming mini-cows, many get them not for meat or milk, but for aesthetic reasons.
Conditions of detention
Highland cows are unpretentious creatures, and they can literally eat whatever they find under their feet. Their digestive system is designed so that it can even digest coarse fiber - while feeding on pasture feed, cattle will also gain weight. Intensive feeding of these cows is of no use, and to get as a result of exquisite dietary meat from the breeder requires minimal effort. A small top dressing may be necessary in winter, but if the place of keeping is near the forest or other place where the animals can feed on their own, you should not worry about it either.
Cows are staying most often without problems and complications. The heifers themselves raise the young, but during the cold period, especially at abnormal sub-zero temperatures, calves may need additional heating.
Highlands can not be kept on a leash, as this entails a loss of mass. They need ample space for grazing and self-searching for food. Ideal for these animals would be keeping them in a large pen, while keeping them there can be large herds.
The homeland of Highland cows is a rainy and windy place, so no additional tools are needed to protect cows from the weather. The main thing is to have a shelter under which cattle can shelter from rain or snow. Because of 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 hardly tolerate heat and high humidity. Animal life in such a climate will be short and painful, so breeders from hot countries should refrain from purchasing cattle of this breed.
The main advantage of this breed is unpretentiousness. There is no special room required for keeping highlands. If there is a large space for walking and grazing animals, you only need to install sheds and in the absence of natural watering facilities - drinkers.
Highland cows also have the following advantages:
- Due to their simplicity described above, the owner does not need to spend a large amount of money on care and maintenance.
- Highlands are famous for excellent health. They are insensitive to most viruses that cause diseases in other breeds of cows.
- They endure cold, even the most extreme.
- 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.
- An undoubted advantage is their meek temper, thanks to which highland cows can seamlessly coexist with other pets.
The undoubted advantages of the main product obtained from the cows of this breed - meat. Consider some of them:
- Due to a small amount of subcutaneous fat, Highland meat is a real diet product. It is recommended for use in people with diseases of the stomach and intestines.
- Meat contains a minimum amount of cholesterol, so it can be included in the use of the elderly and people suffering from heart and vascular diseases.
- Highland meat is rich in protein and iron much more than other beef.
Breeding mini highbirds
More recently, the Highlands in Russia were a wonder. Now, this breed is gradually gaining popularity, because it is ideal for breeding in the Russian climate zones.
Breeding mini Highland cows is profitable and promising. Once invested in the purchase of males and females, you can do business in the production of selected beef or engage in breeding and selling young individuals. Also these charming creatures can be acquired and distributed for decorative purposes: they are very friendly and playful creatures.