Scottish Highland Cows

It all started in a conversation between Owen and Ahna, two of our family members at Big Bills.

“Do you think Michelle would like to photograph our cows?”

Heck yes! A date was set and I showed up! Before I begin I’d like to give you some background on this breed.

“Aptly named, Scottish Highland cows originated from Scotland and were commonly seen in the Highland region.

This area was known for harsher weather and other conditions where the cattle had to adapt quickly. That caused the region to be hard to survive in, so only the strongest of the bunch survived. There were originally multiple variations of this cattle, and because of this the breed has many unique characteristics.”

“The genetic makeup of the Scottish Highland breed is tough and has become even stronger over time. They have evolved to deal with tougher conditions and to fight off sickness.

Susanna, Ahna’s mother who gave me the Queens tour, is fearless. These cows are her pets, her babies. I followed her over the fence and into the pen. There I was, in the midst of these large docile animals and no further away than an arms length, and at times a body.

This breed of cattle tends to be very friendly with people, they are well behaved and like to have your attention. An exception to this is when they feel that their young are in danger. If that is the case beware. Highlanders are very smart animals and can actually be trained in many ways that other breeds do not have the capacity for. Though they possess horns, they tend to be very easy to work with.

This bull was in the pen with us also. He stayed a distance away, but always had his eyes on me (I think). You can distinguish a bull by the shape of their horns which suggest masculinity and strength.

Their horns are level with the ground and curve slightly forward. They may rise slightly towards the tip but nothing more.

The female Highlanders horns suggest majesty and femininity. They are narrower at the base than those of the bull, longer and finer at the tip, and should always rise after exiting the head.

The bull usually weighs in around 1,800 pounds, and the cow is close to 1,100 pounds when fully matured.

What are these cows raised for? I’ll let google tell you:

“The cattle beef has a marbled effect that makes it unique. It also has a savory flavor that is distinct from other beef dishes and is lower in cholesterol. Use it in stews with potatoes, peas, and carrots during the winter for a hearty meal.

You can also brown the meat and serve it as a main dish, stir fry it with vegetables, or fry it and serve with cheesy potatoes or mac n’ cheese for a special occasion. There are many other ways to cook and eat their meat, and they have recipes made specifically for cooking and serving it.”

Milk is another choice:

Highland Scottish cows produce up to two gallons of milk each day. People don’t typically raise them solely for their milk producing capabilities as production cows produce more milk.

However, one Highland cow will produce more than enough milk for a family. Their milk has a high butterfat content which can be used for drinking, baking, and cooking. For instance, the butterfat from the fresh milk will help make your stews thick and filling.

Not only were there Highlanders on this farm, I petted a Turkey, I petted a chicken, I rubbed noses with a horse and had it not been a chilly morning, I could have taken a dip in their crystal clear pond!

Thank you Susanna for a very fun morning!

7 thoughts on “

  1. Great pictures!!! You captured them both adorable and imposing!! Wow! Galena has such a variety of interesting things in and around it. Mitch, you have showcased them all so well.

  2. I’m so happy to see your artful photography again, Michelle! Beautiful as ever and respectful of your subjects as always. Thanks for the special treat and the lesson!

  3. As always, you see things the rest of us don’t and you’re able to capture it on film. Did you get to pet any of these gorgeous creatures?

  4. These are beautiful animals and the photos show their true beauty and soul. These pictures tug at my heart and I bet everyone elses too. That’s why I don’t eat them.

  5. Love that you brought these beautiful animals to us and that you are behind your lense again, BEAUTIFUL!!!

  6. As always, dear Michelle, your talent soars to the top of the photographic sphere. Great pictures!! J

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