Description of the breed of Scottish cows, their characteristics and care of the Highlands

Description of the breed of Scottish cows, their characteristics and care of the Highlands

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The Scottish unpretentious cow bears little resemblance to an ordinary cow. The animal looks more like a wild yak or a small buffalo. You should not expect large milk yields from a pet, although experts consider it curative. Some livestock breeders specialize in obtaining this unique vitamin product. Most farmers breed cows as meat animals.

Characteristics of the breed

Despite their small stature, the Scottish breed is widely known for producing excellent meat. Muscular animals do not require special care and attention. Most of the time of the year, they feed on pasture and gain up to 700 kg by mature age. Thanks to their thick, long hair, pets easily endure the vagaries of the weather, hiding under a light canopy.

In search of food, animals literally turn over layers of soil with sharp horns. Thus, animals literally plow the land. After "processing" the soil, the pasture is covered with young, strong vegetation. This ability helps to restore the turf after the "invasion" of sheep.


Unpretentious cows were presented to the world by northern Scotland. The ancestors of the modern Highlands lived in the harsh land of the North Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides. The highland area is famous for its harsh climatic conditions, so the local cattle possessed rare endurance and unpretentiousness. The mountainous animals were reddish-brown in color, while the islands were dyed black.

As a result of the competent crossing of these species of animals, the high-mountain Scottish breed of cows appeared. By the early 19th century, pets had acquired a variety of colors, but the most common color was cocoa (mojo).

Subsequently, cows spread throughout the Australian continent and in North America. As a result of selection, the animals inherited the appearance of their shaggy ancestors, but they greatly decreased in size. Today they resemble funny miniature copies of ancient Scottish cows.

The productivity and charm of the pets have melted the hearts of many European breeders. Even the Queen of Great Britain could not resist the charm of cows. The Scottish residence of Balmoral, long owned by Elizabeth॥, is home to a whole herd of horned beauties.


Animals have an outstanding appearance. The combination of powerful physical characteristics with decorative appearance makes an indelible impression.

  1. A strong skeletal system, wide chest and developed muscles testify to the remarkable physical strength of the pet.
  2. Due to the curved ribs, the body of the cow is distinguished by an oval shape.
  3. The pet's powerful legs are short, but stable. This feature allows the animal to easily move around hilly terrain.
  4. The slender long neck of the animal is crowned with a large head. In bulls, the neck is decorated with a comb.
  5. The cow's broad muzzle and strong jaws are designed for foraging in mountainous terrain.
  6. The forehead and eyes of the animal are covered with thick, wavy bangs. Luxurious strands serve to protect your pet from wind, sand and insects.
  7. The mountain cow is able to defend itself with massive, sharp horns.
  8. Pets have thick wavy or straight hair. In some individuals, the length of the strands reaches 30 cm. The hair of the pets is colored beige, yellow, gray-brown, red, brownish-yellow or black. In rare cases, original spotted individuals can be found. Due to the unique structure of the wool, the cow is not afraid of precipitation and frost. The outer layer consists of long guard hairs, richly saturated with fat, the functions of the inner layer are performed by a soft, dense undercoat.
  9. The growth of miniature animals barely reaches 110-130 cm.
  10. The small stature of the pets is more than compensated for by the impressive mass. Even in unfavorable climatic conditions, cows easily fatten 440-650 kg.


As a source of milk, cows are not of particular interest, because the daily milk yield from one cat does not exceed 5 liters. Scots are bred for quality meat. Animals are sent for slaughter at the age of 2-3 years. During this period, the meat has a special taste and contains a record amount of proteins and iron.

Expert opinion

Zarechny Maxim Valerievich

Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.

Beef is low in fat and cholesterol, so it is good for people with chronic diseases. Animals over 10 years old are not suitable for slaughter.

Pros and cons of the breed

The Highland breed is ideal for the production of meat products. However, along with the obvious advantages, animals have a number of significant disadvantages.

Pets are not afraid of severe weather disasters. The cows easily adapt to any conditions.

Animals are unpretentious in their food.

Strong immunity protects cows from colds and even infectious diseases.

Pets are not demanding on the conditions of keeping. For their well-being, a spacious pen and a shed are enough for them. Animals get food on their own.

The beef tastes like game.

Cows are real long-livers. Animals retain their physical shape for up to 20 years.

Pets are known for their calm, peaceful disposition. Cows show hostility only in case of a threat to offspring.

Animals are able to restore damaged pastures.

Burenka slowly gains weight and gives little milk.

Animals should not be bred in hot climates.

Scots need spacious pastures.

Cows develop slowly and reach puberty late.

Maintenance and care of Scottish cows

Scottish cows perfectly tolerate the cold and do not tolerate being tied, therefore, before the onset of real frosts, the life of the cows passes in the pasture. On the territory of the pasture, protective sheds and feeders are installed. Here, pets can find shelter at night and shelter from the rain. A separate shelter is made for calving cows and small calves.

In no case should you put armfuls of hay on the ground for feeding cows - clumsy animals trample feed into the soil. Thus, the farmer is doomed to waste.

In winter, animals are kept in a dry, clean, ventilated barn. Highlands are not large in size, so 6 sq. M is enough to comfortably accommodate one animal. m area. Cows and calves are kept at a temperature of + 10-16 degrees. The bull feels good in a cool room.

The stalls are equipped with a hay nursery, individual feeders and drinkers. The floor in the cow's apartment is covered with a small layer of bedding consisting of hay and straw. It is recommended to equip the barn with a chute for collecting and draining manure. In this case, the animals are not littered.

The barn is regularly cleaned and ventilated by opening windows and doors. This will help avoid harmful ammonia fumes. The procedure is performed during the daily walking of livestock.

Drawing up a diet

In central Russia, animals feed on crops of clover, fescue, alfalfa or perennial chaff. Having inherited from their ancestors the ability to get by with pasture, the Scots prefer coarse and juicy food. In winter, pets are given whole grain, steamed straw, hay, as well as meal, silage and cake. Animals also like fodder root crops. The cereal mixture is made from the chaff of oats, corn, wheat or barley.

For the full development of pets, they are treated with supplements from bone meal, ash and fish oil. In addition, the cows must be given salt.

Breeding features

Scottish cows are self-sufficient and rarely need human help. The cows give birth and feed the calves on their own, the young animals need to be looked after only in winter. Heifers reach sexual maturity by 3 years. Calving usually proceeds without complications. The offspring has innate immunity, so there are practically no cases of death among babies. As a rule, calves are born in February and March, so they feed on young greens from an early age.

Diseases, prevention, treatment

Scottish cows are extremely resistant to infectious diseases and colds. Impenetrable immunity reliably resists viruses, so there are no cases of infection. Experts attribute this ability to genetic properties. They are manifested in the special structure of the body and the structure of the wool of cows. An important role is played by the lack of contact between pets and other animals.

On rare occasions, pets injure each other during a brawl.

How to choose a good individual and where to buy

When choosing a cow, you need to pay attention to the mucous membranes and teeth of the animal. There should be no inflammation and traces of pus on the mucous membranes. A healthy calf should be well-nourished and active.

Watch the video: Happy Highland Cows (August 2022).