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Rare/heritage breeds?


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A farm I drive by about once a week has a small herd of Highland cattle... those guys are so cool! But anyway got me wondering if anyone has owned/worked some of these rarer breeds of cattle (or any livestock), like the Highlands or the belted breeds, maybe even miniature Herefords? Or any others? Thought maybe Belgian Blues, but maybe they couldn't handle the stress of being worked, not sure how their muscle mutation works or doesn't work. Any experiences?



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I've worked with Highlands before, but never with a dog. There's a herd here raised for beef. They're pretty nice cows- mellow, easy to handle, and pretty tasty. This is an all-grass-fed operation. I've also known some Highland cows that were home milk & draft animals. Not the best millkers, but fine for home use. They can overheat doing draft work with that coat.


We currently have Milking Devon x Shorthorns. I love Shorthorns. The Devon makes a smaller cow that has more fat in the milk than the SH. This is a home milk cow, not commercial. The crosses have been the best grass-fed beef I've ever had. The Devons are great foragers, but they're opinionated and a bit high-strung. We trained one pair of steers for draft, and they do okay, but they're not as mellow as our straight SH team. The Devons have been fine for working dogs, but ours get worked from day one, and the momma cows know the routine, so training the calves is easy.


You're in Iowa, right? The Seed Saver's Exchange Heritage Farm in Decorah has White Park Cattle. I don't know much about them, but they're beautiful.

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I have had Short horns and I agree with Ben they are a great muti purpose breed.




I have also had hereford, angus and crosses through here




The pure angus seem to kick more.......? Maybe my imagination



A few jerseys- beautiful, sweet but man, they would get mastitis or some other problem at the drop of a hat.




My personal grudge is no one breeds to hand milk.




The best teats I've seen to hand milk were on some crossbred Limousin.




I have seen a few highlanders- what puts me off are those big horns- uh- stanchion??????




I saw a bunch of dexters at the fair- er my goats were the same size?



One of my slaughter guys has a miniture hereford that he crosses on those Japanese cattle.




I would like to cross with corriente. That is what I saw as a kid. However they would probaby not do well in this damp climate with my luck.




Ben did your friends ever round me up a heifer?

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  • 2 months later...

We have Irish Dexters.


Nice size, great mothers and handle the winters well. My young dog is from cattledog stock and she loves to move them around. They are pretty willing to be handled, except when they have calves. We have not done much with ours, but they seem calm enough.

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If I really wanted rare/heritage cattle, I'd try to find Florida Crackers or Pineywoods cattle. I love Randall Linebacks as well, but they are a northern breed so wouldn't be suited to this area.


Of the more common breeds, I'd probably look at Dexters or milking shorthorns. My former neighbor had milking devons--beautiful cattle and as Ben said, the grassfed beef was very tasty.



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don't think they are too rare, but here in the States perhaps. i am getting a Parsonee (not even sure how to spell it) calf today-well she is half Limousine and half Parsonee. The meat is very lean and very tasty and tender.


We have a few highland herds around here. not worked them yet, but they are supposed to be docile and great hardy animals. The extra hair helps for cold winters and the local breeders tell me they look for shade in the summer when it is hot.

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