We both loved Scottish Highland cattle the first time either of us saw them. Just on looks alone, they are magnificent beasts, with impressive horns on bulls and cows alike and great shaggy coats of wonderful colors.
We knew we wanted Highlanders, but still decided to investigate the breed rather than jump in based on looks. As it turned out, this breed couldn't be more suitable for us. Scottish Highland cattle are a heritage breed, meaning that the breed has been around for many generations with comparatively few changes resulting from directed breeding.
Heritage breeds tend to be hardier than more modern breeds, thriving on lower quality forage, and in the case of Scottish Highland cattle, even browse. Here you can see the girls at about 12 months; Laurel is tasting some red oak leaves and Lexie is munching on some pine needles: Just browsing, thanks.
Highland cattle are relatively low-maintenance animals, generally requiring little if any assistance when calving. We never found that out for ourselves, however. We had planned to breed them but decided we did not want the hassle of owning a bull that was needed only a couple of days per year. Borrowing a bull fell through. AI was problematic. We just let it slide, so we have a couple of big, beautiful pasture ornaments.
We purchased our girls as yearling calves from Chris and Sue Hawkins of Lost Nation Farm in northern New Hampshire. Laurel and Lexie (renamed from Lavinia) were our first large animals. Laurel is the younger by a month than Lexie, but larger and very much the boss. Lexie is more spirited and less tolerant of contact, such as prolonged brushing. Both heifers are friendly and beautiful.
Album: Laurel and Lexie