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TOPIC: Highland cattle

Highland cattle 23 Oct 2010 22:35 #25098

  • Podge
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Hi guys,
Not sure if there's any highland cattle experts out there? But I have some questions...

We have a herd of 14 whiteface black heifers, and will soon have 4 Highland cows. Can we mix them? Or will the Highlands damage the whitefaces with their horns? The WF's will be finished early next spring for sales (and one for homekill) and obviously don't want them all bruised.

Also, any opinions on the grazing and water consumption of Highlands vs your standard beef breed like the WF's?

Thanks!
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Highland cattle 23 Oct 2010 22:40 #352629

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Its normally good practice to keep polled cattle separate from horned cattle. Especially if they haven't been brought up together and I would say especially when you're dealing with very long horns on the horned cattle.
135 acres in Bay of Islands, including around 90 acres of Native Bush.
13 Dexter cows,
4 heifers & 3 bulls.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry.
Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
Gotland Sheep and Polled Wiltshire Sheep.
LOTS of wild birds incl. 10 Kiwi and lots of Weka. We also have frogs and a Heading Dog called Lad.
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 07:21 #352649

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Hi Podge,
We are Highland Breeders, we have a Pure Bred Fold and one Fresian house cow. We have been unable to mix the Fresian with the Fold so we keep her with 2 of my yearling heifers and they are fine and respect her with their horns, however if we put her in with the others they have actually done her damage in the past so best option is to keep separate if you can.
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 10:28 #352661

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Because the cows are arriving, the heifers territory will be defended by the dominant heifer. She will have a lot of bashing with the dominant cow, and may or may not be bruised or worse, depending on how dominant and nimble she is.
(I would think that) after they have all settled down in the herd, about a week, the cows will only give the heifers an occassional bash. About a month before the heifers go, the cows should be removed from them. Remember that every time they are separated for more than a couple of days they will fight to re-establish their herd position.
Remember that horns are very dangerous to humans and dogs, so it would be worthwhile to dehorn the Highlands to prevent horn injury. It doesn't matter if you get killed, but think what you would feel like if someone in your family was injured or killed. I am biased though, having had to chase high spirited Highlands ....
Their water requirements will be similar to the heifers, but their food requirements will be about 3/4 even if they are in calf, because they are fully grown and the heifers you are trying to get as big as possible. So probably best to feed the heifers first in your paddock rotation. Put the heifers in the paddock until it is stripped, move them on to the next paddock and move the Highlands into where the heifers were.
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 12:49 #352677

We have highland cows that we farm separately from our steers. We just keep them one paddock ahead.

On a slightly different note, we have a highland with a calf who we have separated from the rest of them as she is an old mum and we felt it would be nice for her if everything was nice and simple. When do people think it would be ok to put them back with the 2 other highland cows ( who have horns that scare me)


Wee Farm
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 14:45 #352685

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As soon as possible so that the other cows don't fight with her too much.
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 15:08 #352687

ok so now?

There are just 2 other highland cows.


Wee Farm
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 15:30 #352689

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If the cows are feeding calves their water requirements will be a lot more than the heifers'.
hilldweller
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 16:44 #352697

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Not sure how old your New Highlands are but de-horning them as suggested if they are fully grown is quite a nasty experience for them. We debud them at the same time as steering them at around 3 months. Less trauma for them while they are under :)
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 17:29 #352700

Our highlands are too old really - and my dh is dead against de horning them so it won't happen anyway.

Hilldweller we only have one calf with mum and unlimited water.

Apologies Podge, I've totally hijacked thread [:I]


Wee Farm
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Highland cattle 24 Oct 2010 21:07 #352712

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Our two yearling highlands have just got in with our 3 lowline cows and their calves and OH tells me there was a bit of argy bargy happening before he got them separated again - although from what I understand it was a case of the highlands wanting to say hello to the calves and the mums being protective and charging the highlands.

They have all been together previously, but the highlands have always been the underdogs at this stage...that's not to say that I don't believe their horns would to some serious damage in the side of another animal!

I've seen Teagan lower her head at my goat and pig and it's certainly not a position I'd willingly let them be in.
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Highland cattle 25 Oct 2010 10:15 #352739

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I mix mine, seperate them when required and then put back together again etc. Just remember when you mix them again it doesnt matter if they have been seperated for a day or a month they will have a little tussle to sort out the rankings. Just make sure they are not in a confined space so that the lower order one can back away.

I do keep my young animals seperate from my older cows for feed management purposes. With my younger animals half are horned, half dehorned and that doesn't create any problems.
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Highland cattle 25 Oct 2010 21:25 #352824

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Ok great, thanks for all the advice - no doubt I'll be back at some point in the future with more questions!! We've just signed papers for 3 cows & 2 calves. Very exciting!
Cheers guys
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Highland cattle 26 Oct 2010 12:24 #352873

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There were a few cows with horns in the commercial dairy herd my dad had but most were dehorned. I don't recall any serious trouble but they were mostly wee Jersey girls not big hairy long horned Highlanders. Of course they all knew who was the boss cow though and it wasn't always the one with the best horns.
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Highland cattle 26 Oct 2010 14:22 #352887

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I have one highland steer and two horned xbreds plus sundry other cows without horns. They all live together, happily. The highland is second in command - my old pet cow (dehorned) is the boss. They are all quiet and most of them can be touched out in the paddock - I don't know if that makes a difference. We have to be careful of Brechie's horns when we are feeding or handling him. I doubt that he would deliberately hurt us, but it would be easy to be caught as he swings his head around. He is about 6 years old now so has a pretty impressive set of antlers!

I had a bull staying with me over the summer - de-horned hereford. There was no argy-bargy between him and Brechie, but he definitely came at the top of the pecking order.

If I ever had to do something with Brechie, I have no idea how we would manage - he can't fit up the race anymore!

The cattle also live happily with horses, pigs and goats - never had any problems. Actually, I never even thought about it so I guess that may have helped!!! I grew up with horned cattle so they don't worry me.
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Highland cattle 26 Oct 2010 14:42 #352892

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I too can brush and handle all my cattle, but I approach them from the side and work my way up to the heads that way they know I am there and respect me also. I would not however let them anywhere near my ponies, if they are on the same boundary fence I run an electric tape so my ponies cannot get near them, one swipe and that is my ponies eyes gone. In the yards to get them on trucks although the horns are wider than the loading ramp they always find a way of getting themselves up there by lifting their heads sideways and upwards. It is amusing to watch and we let them take their time.
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Highland cattle 26 Oct 2010 20:57 #352949

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Bev do you have normal width race/crush in your yards then? I've heard the same - that they find a way if you let them take their time, but I look at it and I just can't imagine how. Think we might carry them by horse float to get them here so we don't have to worry about them getting stuck when they first arrive! That would add to the stress somewhat...
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Highland cattle 27 Oct 2010 07:36 #352980

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Yes normal race and they have no probs although our bull was deivered in a float and just stepped off it, but when I sold him he went up the ramp no probs just held his head up high!!
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Highland cattle 27 Oct 2010 13:30 #353020

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Like Bev our experience is that that they find their own way if given time. If you have a prod happy truck driver the cattle will get very agitated and make it hard for everyone - including themselves.
Our experience is also that most of cattle do not use the point of their horns when having a go at others for whatever reason. We also have one who was anxious to get to the baleage one day while OH was spreading it out. So she walked up behind him and lifted him up and deposited him a couple of feet away. She wasn't aggressive, just wanted him out of the way - but we both know he was very lucky and manage things better now.
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