The World's Oldest Cattle Breed
Known as the 'fluffy cows' or 'teddy bear' looking calves, this cattle breed is a lot more robust than their image implies.
Native to Scotland, American Highland Cattle is the official nomenclature here in the U.S. where an established breeding Registry and associations continue their lasting heritage.
Shaggy and stout in appearance with curving horns, they are revered for gentle temperaments and high intelligence, along with hardiness in a variety of climates. They are one of the least tampered with breeds of cattle, producing a breed which is considered to be of great health and great calving success without assistance or interference. They are excellent mothers, capable of warding off predators and rearing healthy, robust calves.
From the rugged terrain of Scotland with its unique weather, Highlands seemed like the perfect fit for our farm and ranch in the Tehachapi mountains. They've come to be the highlight of our work day and a joy to experience.
Like all cattle, Highlands can be utilized on pasture with a variety of fencing, most commonly barbed wire, field fencing or open ranged.
While this cattle breed is built to withstand cold temps, shade in the summer is important and having shelter out of the weather aids in an animal's comfort.
Diet & Water
Pasture grazing or hay along with mineral supplementation is a foundation diet.
Cattle will take routine vaccines, parasite prevention, and keeping an eye on hoof length.
"Cow" A female who has previously given birth
"Heifer" A female who has never given birth
"Calf" A baby (<1 year of age)
"Bull" An unaltered, intact male
"Steer" An altered, castrated male
"Cattle" A group
A calf can also be referred to as a heifer calf, steer calf or bull calf to define its gender
>Female & male Highland Cattle both have horns
>Like most mammals, calves are born covered in hair. They will stand soon after birth and their eyes are open after their entry to the world.
>An animal's horns are its temperature regulator, helping it cool off on hot days. Highlands will also use their horns as an extension of themselves much like a tool to not only scratch their backs, but push away, bring closer or even pull things into their reach. It is not recommended to remove the horns on a Highland.
>Highlands can live well into their 20's! In fact, many respected breeders receive calves from cows in their early 20's. Not only do these cattle as a breed outlive many other breeds, but they are healthy and robust to successfully produce for nearly two decades of calves. What this means to us is two things; invest wisely in which animals you add to your herd as they will be your foundation stock for many years, and when you commit to a highland keep in mind you are committing to a longer-lived animal who will need feeding, care and your commitment to them.
>Highlands are considered a 'dual purpose' cattle breed. Meaning, they can be utilized for meat and dairy use. Many today also enjoy them as pasture companions much like keeping a family horse on a larger pasture.
>Highly feed efficient, Highlands require less food to maintain their body mass, heat, energy and performance. They are efficient grazers and move in the traditional tight-packed group as a herd while grazing, instead of the spread out single-animal grazing so many other breeds have been selectively bred for by humans. This model of tight, rotational grazing has been found by sustainable and restorative agriculture experts to be a healthier fit for soil ecology, pasture management and a more sustainable way of keeping livestock.
>Red may be the primary color they're known for, but Highlands come in a multitude of colors, including; Dun, Brindle, Black, Silver, White, Yellow and Blonde.
Rey & Huntress say hello outside the Cottage
Red enjoys a nap beside the pond
Thinking About Buying? Please Read
Calves require a non-refundable deposit to hold them prior to their weaning and going to their new home. All calves are kept with their mothers and we do NOT bottle feed unless a calf has been rejected by a first-time mother, etc.
We do not require prior cattle ownership prior to purchasing with us, but we do require a basic knowledge foundation in cattle and their care to better aid you and the animal in a successful life together. Cattle are LARGE animals and despite the images floating around social media, highland cattle are still cattle...they deserve respect as larger livestock and the training, care, diet and management involved with keeping them.
If you are thinking of adding cattle to your life, we highly encourage you to purchase a basic care book off of Amazon or your local stores to give you a good basis to start. So much with animal care and cost is about prevention and that comes from knowledge. This book will also make a great reference tool for you as questions arise during your cattle ownership, as they often do for us still! We are always learning something new.
Due to Highlands' short stature people often misclassify them as minitature when compared to traditional beef or dairy cattle which can be extremely tall. The American Highland Cattle Association (AHCA) advocates breeding for high quality genetics and long term sustainability of the breed. AHCA does NOT breed for height, so a standard Registered high quality animal may be short enough at the shoulders to be classified as a 'miniature' but is still a high qualit, pure bred, Registered animal. What happens most often however, is breeders will cross breed or breed in the chrondo gene, in additon to growth stuted animals, in order to produce a 'smaller' "miniature highland" which is NOT in fact a highland. There is no such thing as a miniature highland, as there is a VERY high chance their genetics are not 100% highland.
The only way to know an animal is 100% that breed, despite appearance, is with Registered stock. This is the same for cattle, goat, hogs, etc. Registered means their genetics have have been tracked and remained pure stock of that breed the entire time. It's like thinking you're buying Organic, free range chicken eggs packed full of higher value nutrients and paying more for the superior product...and then finding out they were caged ducks or quail and not even from a chicken. It means there's no way to 100% know, unless the Registration paper tells you.
We currently have both Registered and Unregistered stock on the ranch. While many customers approach us asking for 100% pure highlands, they also say they don't need Registered, want lower cost as a 'pet', etc., but will then ask about the multiple generational lineage of the non-Registered stock. Referring to above, please understand that whatever information we have on the unregistered stock is provided, but there is no way to have an Unregistered animal verified as 100% Highland, and it's highly likely with ANY unregistered animal that at some point in their ancestry they had a non-Highland in their family tree. This is why Unregistered animals are sold as-is, as 'Unregistered'. A 'full highland' is ONLY verifiable through Registration which tracks their ancestry.
-We do not sell unweaned calves. This is an important time in a calf's life as it learns how to be a highland and learns manners and skills from its mother. A calf will still be friendly and bond with humans later without being 'bottle fed in your kitchen'. We understand the idea of bottle feeding a baby seems very fun but it isn't necessarily what's best for the animal or safe for you later. We respect the cattle as cattle and want mentally healthy animals for the long run.
-We want what's best for our cattle and customers both. If you're new to owning cattle please be open about this so we can help guide you in being as best prepared as possible prior to bringing one home from us. There are many people who will sell you a calf or larger animal without ever asking you about where you're at with your experience, knowledge and preparations to care for the animal; we are not those people. We care about your success, as everyone wins, especially the animal. We don't want your business for a single sale, we want your business for a lifetime.
-We do not sell to 'single cow households'. Cattle are herd animals and highlands particularly are very social animals which need a herd of their own.
-Having your own handling equipment is highly encouraged and advised PRIOR to bringing home your first animal. This is the #1 thing we wish we'd done differently and been advised when we first started out.
Our herd currently includes both Registered and Unregistered Highland Cattle. Registered cattle will be registered with the American Highland Cattle Association prior to sale/transfer.
Cattle pricing ranges between every breeder, quality and genetics of the animal, geographical economies, the animal's registration status, disposition/temperament and more. Our animals range from $2,000 to $10,000. The purchase of a Highland is different than the purchase of many other cattle breeds. With Miniature Herefords for instance, you're looking at an animal that lives 10-12 years and produces for maybe 7-10 years. With a Highland you can expect 15-20+ years of breeding with a healthy, well cared for animal which you can make back your initial investment after the first calving. Invest in the stock that is right for you and your farm, ranch, family or homestead.
Our pricing reflects our high quality, commitment as small farmers to our animals and their care, and to our continued commitment to our customers before, during and long after you buy cattle with us. Our farm is not a hobby or side hustle, but our livelihood and passion. We raise Highland Cattle as our commitment to preserving the breed's heritage and increasing awareness of their legacy.
Our customers receive more than just an animal, which is our commitment to their success for years to come. A large part of being a responsible farmer and Highland breeder is mentorship and setting up new cattle owners for success. We care about our animals and you, and want to help the both of you thrive for a lifetime and not just the extent of making a 'sale'.
Available animals are posted on the Livestock page, and you can also join our Highland Contact List to be notified as animals become available from our growing herd.