Highland cattle originated in the rough hill country and islands of northern Scotland. They are capable of thriving in harsh climates. They were originally kept by small farmers and used to raise a calf and produce milk for the farm family. Their thick coat provides excellent insulation, meaning increased feed efficiency in cold weather. They need little in the way of shelter and are ideally suited to pasture-based operations.
Highland Cattle can be found from Alaska to Texas. A coarse, shaggy outer coat insulates against cold, wind, snow, and rain. In warmer climates, the cattle shed out and their large horns help regulate heat loss.
Maternal Traits and Longevity
Highland cows are known for their calving ease, good milk production, and strong protective instincts. Highland cows have a long productive life. It is not unusual for cows to calve every year into their late teens.
Despite their impressive appearance, Highland Cattle are more docile than many breeds of cattle. They respond to human contact and on the whole are gentle. Due to their strong maternal instincts, care should be taken when approaching cows with calves. Bulls are good-natured, but should be respected. Anyone who does not wish to own a bull can utilize artificial insemination (AI).
Tender, Flavorful Beef
Highland Cattle are well-known for high-quality, flavorful beef. A recent study nearing completion at the University of Missouri shows that Highland beef is genetically tender. Even grass-fed animals will produce tender cuts.