Facts about Highland Cattle
The horns grow differently in males and females, with the bulls being thicker, curving forward with only a small upwards rise near the tip, if any at all. The cows’ horns are more slender, and curve upwards. They are also longer than the bulls’ horns.
Their coat is made of two layers. Their coats enable the cow to survive harsh winters in tough environments. Their thick woolly undercoats keep them warm, while the longer guard hairs shed snow and rain. Long eyelashes and a thick fringe of hair protects their eyes from stinging hail, lashing rain, insects, and biting winds.
Highland Cattle are reportedly the oldest registered breed of cattle in the world. The Highland Cattle Society was formed in 1884, with the first herd book recorded the year after.
The Highland breed is predominantly used for beef production, but can be milked on a small scale. Their milk has a high butterfat content, which some farmers may find appealing.
Although the classic image of a Highland cow is ginger in colour, they also come in other shades — red, yellow, brindle, dun, silver, white, and also black.
A group of Highland Cattle is called a fold instead of a herd.
Highland Cattle have a social hierarchy, with grown cattle dominant to younger cattle, and males dominant to females.
The Highland cow is renowned for its friendly nature, often approaching people to demand attention. They are not aggressive, but are very protective of their young.
Highland cattle aren’t very large, with bulls weighing about 800kg and cows reaching around 500kg.
Since they retain their body heat by having a thick coat and not by storing excess fat, their meat is quite lean. Studies show that their beef is about 38% lower in fat than other beef breeds. It’s also 4% lower in cholesterol.