I discovered Scottish Highland Cattle(SHC) online, while searching for miniature cattle. I came across an article describing SHC’s dual purpose as a producer of both meat and milk. Intrigued, I read that this gentle breed was known to originally inhabit the houses of Scottish families. Conveniently located in a gated section of human residence, one did not have to exit into the cold to obtain milk. I am sure to some the smell may have negated the option to avoid the cold. Their long hair provides protection from extreme cold and promotes a less fatty, healthier meat. A large horn spread provided a strong defense against predators. Bulls too were known to be on the gentle side. Of course, like any animal, how they are raised, handled and selective breeding plays an important role in developing attitudes. SHC milk is high in butter fat, while meat is high in iron and protein, but lower in cholesterol. If need be, the breed ha been known to survive on brush. Survive, but not thrive. Cows often produce calves until the age of 20 or longer. All of these details were positives as I desire to produce my own food.
I researched online, looking at sale posts and breeders websites, FB pages, ect. Excited, I attended the 2016 SHC show at the St Joseph County Fair in Centreville, MI. I learned more about the breed as it presents now in the United States and met breeders from different areas in Michigan.
Scottish Highland Cattle in the United States today are less likely to be used for a family milk cow. While some do, the primary goal for most breeders is to raise SHC for beef (meat) and to excel in the show ring. A SHC that produces too much milk presents a problem for the breeder that does not desire to milk a cow out. If she produces too much milk for a new born calf, mastitis can set in and create illness and or death. Damage to a quarter of a cows bag would create a cow that is no longer desirable in the show ring.
The breeders I met were kind in sharing knowledge and even allowed me to show in a couple classes. Not only was I privileged to pick their brains as I begin developing my eye, but I actually was allowed to lead and show the cattle. Skyler Anderson of Skye High Farms gave me a crash course in showing cattle. Pat White allowed me to show cattle she raises and owns with her husband on LEA-White Farms. Eddie of Dundonald Highlands provided a Scottish Highland for me to show as well and shared stories of raising Highlands depicting his dedication and love for the breed. All contributed to my wonderful experience and learning about this fantastic breed. Click on the links to any of their farm pages to learn more about Scottish Highland Cattle.
LEA-White Farms earned the titles of 2016 Reserve Grand Champion Scottish Highland….
and 2016 Grand Champion Scottish Highland….Congratulations!