In an earlier post, Moove, Baby Moove, I featured our near neighbours, the highland cattle. I can't help it, I go all funny when I see them, and reach for my camera again, to try and capture some of their charm. They're so furry, placid and approachable, and even look huggable - although I haven't tested this out yet!
|I am gorgeous, don't you agree?|
|Do you like my fringe (Dossan)?|
|I've just had a perm - what do you think?|
|All together now . . .|
|The grass (bush) is always greener on the other side of the fence|
|These are my reeds - you can't have them!|
|Mmmm, this bracken's not bad, either!|
For those interested in knowing a bit more about Scottish Highland Cattle, below is a synopsis of information taken from the Hobby Farms website.
See you next time.
|Time to digest, and for a rest.|
A coat of woolly hair, a massive body and sweeping horns, all in a package designed to withstand icy temperatures, low-quality forage and a host of predators. Although this may sound like a description of the extinct woolly mammoth, it’s actually a word picture of an ancient cattle breed known as the Scottish Highland. The Scottish Highland is one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the world. Going as far back in time as the sixth century, some historians believe the ancestors of today’s Scottish Highland may have come to Scottish shores from Scandinavia with the Vikings.
People who own and breed Highland cattle are passionate about the breed. According to those who love these animals, this is no ordinary breed of cattle. Rather, Highland cattle are substantial and dramatic looking animals, with a coat of hair that lends an exotic and almost prehistoric look to them.
“It’s impossible to meet these cattle and not be smitten with their striking looks. Their shaggy coats, immense and elegant sweeping horns, and their powerful bodies all combine with their unblinking gaze of intense curiosity to create a picture not easily forgotten." (Suzanne Clothier-Rice).
The Scottish Highland breed standard . . . notes: The ideal Scottish Highland has a straight topline from the shoulders to the tail head, and has hindquarters that appear deep and square from the rear. It has straight, sturdy legs and large, well-set hooves. The head of the Scottish Highland is broad between the eyes, and short from the eyes to the muzzle. The breed sports a “dossan,” the name for the wide, thick latch of hair between the horns that reaches to the muzzle.
The breed’s horns are among its most distinctive characteristics, and vary between bulls and cows. While bulls’ horns extend in a level position from the head, curving slightly forward and downward, cows’ horns extend horizontally and have a feminine, graceful and symmetrical appearance.
The Scottish Highland coat is another unusual aspect of the breed . . . the hair consists of a soft fluffy undercoat protected by a long, strong, outer coat that can reach 14 inches in length. Both coats shed during warm weather, and come in black, brindle (red with black streaks, black with red streaks, or yellow with dun streaks), light red to dark red, yellow, dun, silver dun and white. The most commonly seen colors in the breed are red and yellow.
The breed’s intense appearance is offset by its quiet and charming temperament. “For us, temperament is critical,” says Clothier-Rice. “We live very closely with all our animals, know each by name, and prefer to work on a very hands-on basis. Nasty, flighty or aggressive animals hold no appeal for us, and even our beef steers are pleasant to work around. The Highland bull is also considered a relatively mild animal—no small consideration when you think about the size, power and speed of any bull. . . . “They are smart. Way too smart. Uncanny smart,” says Clothier-Rice. “And staggeringly athletic. The combination of great intelligence, naturally intense curiosity, awareness of detail, and athletic ability means that it’s not only not easy to fool a Highland, but they are capable of simply leaving a troublesome situation by vaulting over the nearest fence. This humbles us and reminds us that they do what we ask them to do and stay where we ask them to stay not because we have removed all other options—they do so because they feel like doing so. The moment cooperating no longer makes sense to them, they can and do take advantage of options they’ve had all along!”