Highlands Cattle - tell me more!!


10 Years
Jun 18, 2009
Fairborn OH
I want to know everything about highland cattle. How long does it take one to mature to butcher? Can mommas be hand milked? Are they good mommas? Are the bulls aggressive? How hard on fences are they? Do they require special care?? I am thinking of starting up a small herd... want to know all there is to know!
I went and looked at a flock once with my DH as we were seriously considering getting them.

The man who owned them said that he was surprised I wanted to use the cow for a milk cow. Apparently they are considered a meat breed. He showed us his bulls and cows.

Standing next to the animals, I was amazed at how HUGE they are and how intimidating their long horns are. I recommend you stand near one before finalizing your decision. We decided against it because of the horns.

They are definitely gorgeous animals, though.

All the rest of my knowledge of them was just from the internet and I have forgotten it....
(Oh- except for the fact that they are supposed to be really good foragers and can survive on pasture/weeds that would starve a regular cow to death).
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I currently have 6 Highlanders and 3 Dexters. They are slower to mature than say Angus or Hereford. Mine are grassfed only and I don't even think about butchering until at least three years old. They are docile but none of mine are halter trained and while a few will come to me, most try to stay away. I certainly would not attempt to milk them, but they do make good mothers. (If you want a dual purpose meat/milk breed you might look at the Dexter). They are not hard on the fences, are very hardy, like to forage in wooded pasture, don't need barns, will graze with a foot of snow on their back, don't have problems with pink eye, low birthing problems, average 1000-1100 lbs. A group of Highlands is a "fold" not "herd". I really like them. Low maintenance and tasty. They have less external fat because of the dual hair coat. Is that what you wanted to know?
I am sure that personalities differ some. I cannot see them being milked, not the average one anyways. I have a bottle baby that was dehorned. She is very independent and has a self preserving personality. Definately doesnt seek out human attention unless food is involved. She would never let me milk her. maybe that is just her. She was dehorned before I got her, and it is the best thing ever. Im sure she would have gored the other animals by now the way she swings her head at them. She doesnt suffer from the heat since the fur insulates from both heat and cold. Some people say the horns are for heat dissapation but thats not really nescassary. They will soak in a wollow on the hottest days but she doesnt seem any hotter then the other cows. She is hard on fences that are not electric. She will push it untill the stapels pop and she can reach grass on the other side. She respects electric well. I have a dexter too and I recommend them over the highland for milk. I do love the highland as a pasture ornament though.

They are both adorable-but what a difference it makes without the horns!
I would like to get one or two Highlanders someday too. They are my favorite breed and the ones I have been around have been rather sociable-although they were steers. Maybe that is the difference.
A funny story for you: one of my first experiences with the breed was at a Scottish Festival. Someone had a 6-year-old steer in a round pen. I went over and rubbed and scratched his head for a while and when I walked away he "moo-ed" at me! The man that owned him jerked his head around and yelled at me to come back.....which I did. He asked me what I did to his steer? I was worried that I was in trouble, but I told him I was rubbing his head. He said he had him since he was a calf and never heard one noise out of him before that day!

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