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  • Writer's pictureTana

The Highland Cow in the Herd.

Updated: Mar 14

We hope you find this research post moo-ving!

Smurphies, there's a new pandemic amongst us. And We're not talking Corvid-19 [Please god, no.], we're talking a new animal to totally gawk google-eyes over its cuteness. First there was otters, then teacup pigs, and baby this and baby that. Well, now it's time for a new animal to be idolized for a hot fifteen minutes of fame! The Highland Cow [Eep!].

These cows are Scottish and from the Scottish Highlands [You don't say. . .]. Harsh conditions led to natural selection breeding between two breeds, one smaller and one larger, evolving into one breed we call today, Highland. On record from the twelfth century, these cows have been around for a minute. And wildly renowned animals for their vigorous and hardiness nature.

You probably don't need us tell just how cute they are because these pictures pretty much speak for themselves [Uh, no duh! LOOK AT THAT FACE!], but we're going to anyway. They start out fuzzy, furring cuteness and grow into wavy/curly gods. What makes this specific cow breed hugely popular is not only their adorability, but their temperament, usefulness, survival for all conditions, their variety diet, the meat they provide, etc. For instance, there's a lot more to their coat than what appears to the eye.

Coat: They have a double coat, the outer layer being corse and long, the inner layer is soft and wooly. This is coat is handy not only to the cows in many ways, but also the owners, who don't have to shell out a bunch of cash for barns and/or shelters for them. This gives no need of heavy back-fat for insulation, making their meat leaner, low fat, and and high quality. They shed in the spring too so they can comfortably survive the warmer climates.

Diet: By force of nature, they are instinctually foragers, meaning they not only eat grass but also brush, weeds, grains, and other varieties that other breeds ignore. They are often used to clear brush lots, restorations, and grazing improvement projects for a more natural approach of the green way to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Temperament: Highlands have been around people for centuries, so at this point I would assume their easy-breezy nature with us has just been bred down for generations at this point. They're docile, calm, and do not stress easily, which makes them an ease to work with despite the big, sharpened horns. They use their horns for defense, yes, but mostly to help knock down brush for eating, and scratching! Females' horns are typically finer and unswept than the males', being massive and forward-pointing.

Fun Fact: A lot of them are pets! The Scottish in earlier days would share the house with them, keeping a wattle fence between them for space, to share added warmth.

Motherhood: Female cows can birth well into their late teens (15-16 years of age), which reduces frequent heard replacement. They are highly devoted and protective mothers. They also get bonus points for calving ease because their calves are typically smaller than other breeds, which makes birthing difficulties less common.

They Have the Beef: When Highlands are mature, they average 900-1200 lbs. Bulls around 1500-1800 lbs. depending on foraging conditions. Highlands mature slowly, making their meat tender, flavorful, and succulent. They have lower fat and cholesterol, and higher in iron and protein than other beefs.

Amazing creatures, aren't they? Based on this list [But mostly because they're cute, cool, and different.], I decided I wanted the ever-famous Betsy to be a Scottish Highland Cow. Though they weren't introduced into the US until 1890s in records, this doesn't mean I can't have Jane own a totally awesome, specially-imported cow (or brought with them to the New World) in the 1600s off-the-record. Right [RIGHT?!]? I mean, it only furthers Jane's social outcasting even more (as if she needs more than just being a white witch being perceived as an evil witch). Which actually gives me an idea to have the colony mock Betsy for being "ugly" and different, much like Jane (different, not ugly).

Morgana being an Irish witch, will especially know of the Scottish Highland Cow, another unintended connection being made in the story. It's a great thing when research makes small details fall into place for your story [In other words, we're boss-ass bitches.].

All information was found at: American Highland Cow Association and Pittsburgher Highland Farm. Pictures provided were found on Pinterest and the American Highland Cow Association, they are NOT mine.

Last Fun Fact: A group of Highland Cattle is actually called a "fold."

[Ahhhh, I see what you did there!]

Another fascinated research found, another shared. I hope you loved this short little fun find, Smurphies! Until the next A Writer's Research Post. . .




- Tana

the Blue Label

↓If you loved this and haven't checked this one out yet. . .↓


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