Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Highland Cattle, Egtved, South Jutland

In a swampy meadow by the water streams of Egtved Å, which is only a brook in this picturesque place, we met the loveliest Highland cattle. They had the characteristic soft colours and the thick woolen fur. They walked silently in thick swampy mud and sometimes looked as if they were stuck in it - but they did handle it in a calm way, they got up from the mud without problems in spite of their heavy-weight. They are so sweet with that fringe and the fine long horns.

The first Highland Cattle were imported to Denmark in 1956 and since then the numbers has increased. According to the statistics from The Danish Agricultural Advisory Center - Highland Cattle is 6 in numbers out of 17 Beef Breeds in the country with 4869 purebred Highlanders. There are 737 farms where pure breed of Highland Cattle are registered and there are 1943 pure bred Highland cows.

Highland cattle or kyloe are an ancient Scottish breed of beef cattle with long horns and long wavy pelts which are coloured black, brindled, red, yellow or dun. The breed developed in the Scottish Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. Highlands are known as a hardy breed due to the rugged nature of their native Scottish Highlands, with high rainfall and strong winds. They both graze and browse and eat plants many other cattle avoid. The meat tends to be leaner than most beef, as Highlands get most of their insulation from their thick shaggy hair rather than subcutaneous fat. The coat also makes them a good breed for cold Northern climates.

The Highland cattle registry ("herd book") was established in 1885. Although groups of cattle are generally called herds, a group of highlands is known as a fold. They were also known as kyloes in Scots. Highland cattle have been successfully established in many temperate countries. Their hair provides protection during the cold winters and their skill in browsing for food enables them to survive in steep mountain areas.

Some are of the opinion that the Highland cattle descend from the European aurochs, who walked in the Scottish forests as far back as the last Ice Age - others that the Highland comes from Asia and came to the northern England with the first settlers more than 5000 years ago. The breeders have always tried to keep the original characteristics.

photo Highland cattle Egtved 20.10.2007: grethe bachmann


Kittie Howard said...

Oh, Grethe, I gasped when I saw your photo at the top. I've never seen a Highland cow. Didn't know a herd was a fold. I'm soooo excited about learning this!! And, you're right, they have really sweet faces. But short legs. Guess this is so they can handle climbs and get out of bogs. I would think the beef would be lower in cholesterol. What a fabulous post. Thank you! (And an e-mail coming your way!!)

Thyra said...

Hello Kittie! Thanks. I love those Highlanders. Have you noticed the large photo, where a piece of grass sticks out from its mouth. It's like it says: Hey there! You're disturbing my lunch break!(Exiting. A new good mail from you. Great - I'll look and write.)

Wanda..... said...

Not only are the Highland cattle beautiful, your photos of them are beautiful, Thyra. The area is enchanting!

Thyra said...

Hello Wanda! Thanks! It was a special place, almost looking like an ancient field! I have just visited yur blog this morning. I like very much your birthday-greeting to your friend Bernie and the lovely flower photos. And her yellow car!

MyMaracas said...

Wonderful photos. I really enjoyed reading about these beautiful cattle. Their faces are so endearing, rather like sheep dogs with their long bangs in their eyes.

Thyra said...

Thanks Maracas! And thank you for solving the riddle about the curls on their forehead, I couldn't remember this word "bang" and couldn't find another word than fringe in my dictionary!
Yes, that's funny, they look like big sheep-dogs with red hair!