We started our small herd of Scottish Highland Cattle in June of 2015. We purchased two bred cows, a yearling heifer and a young bull. Later in the year we had two bull calfs bringing our 2015 total animal count to 6.
In the spring of 2016 we purchased two more cows and their heifer calfs bringing the total to ten.
Our goal is to run 10 cows with our bull providing 10 head to sell as beef each year.
Our Highland Beef is 100% grass fed and finished – from our farm, to the butcher, to you. No feed lots. No massive processing facility. No grocery store.
Why Highland Beef?
Highland Cattle are a breed of cattle originating in the Scottish Highlands and first imported into Canada in the 1880’s. These guys were bred to withstand the harsh winters and still do so well today. This heritage has bred into them a unique double coat of hair, the outer layer being the longest of any cattle breed and the undercoat being a soft, downlike fur. It is this outer later that gives the Highland Cattle their unique look – one that says, “Yea, I listen to The Cure, like so what?” It is also what makes them a great breed for us here in BC’s Cariboo where winters can be harsh. Our cows relish the cold.
Another unique feature of the Highland Breed is the horns. Both the cows and bulls sport impressive racks that only get cooler and more unique with age.
But aside from looking stunning, the horns serve a purpose. Highland Cattle are infamous foragers – often eating with glee what most other breeds would scoff at. They use their horns to dig into snow for food, break ice to get at water and knock down branches and saplings to get at the leaves. I kid you not, you will not see our herd more excited than when the aspen leaves start growing in the spring.
Even though we have plenty of nice pasture for the herd to roam, it’s great that they can take advantage of so many other food sources here on the farm. Not only does it keep the place looking tidier, and helps control “weeds”, but their efficient use of most things green (and some other colours too) helps keep feed costs down.
Finally, Highland Cattle are a quiet and docile breed. Rarely do they moo, except to call their calf and even with the horns are easy to handle and can be quite affectionate. We have calfs that like their noses rubbed, cows that like their butts scratched and Willow who I am convinced would read War and Peace aloud to you for some cheek scratches. They even share kisses with the dogs.
In the end, Highland Cattle are well suited for our Cariboo winters, take full advantage of everything there is to eat and are docile and easy keepers – all of which makes them perfect for our boutique operation.