You know what they say about not naming your cattle? Well, we say fooey to that. Our cattle answer to Ewan McGregor, Andy Murray, Annie Lennox, Susan Boyle and Shirley Manson. Fans of Outlander might recognise Jamie Fraser standing in the paddock — albeit without a kilt. Our Scottish Highland Cattle are named after famous Scots. Our neighbours thought we were mad when we introduced this breed to Warramba. They probably still do. So why Highlands? Glad you asked . . .
Highlands are the oldest registered breed in the world with the first herd book established in 1884. They are native to Scotland but have been in Australia for many years. There are highlands folds — highlands are the only cattle breed to use the name fold for groupings not herd — as far north as Queensland and as far south as Tasmania.
At Warramba, we have extreme summers and frosty winters — it reached 46 this summer and we had a low of -8 in winter. We chose Highlands because they are self-sufficient and adaptable. They are also a smaller breed of cattle, reducing their impact on the land. In summer, Highlands turn their day upside down, resting during the heat of the day and grazing at night. They also shed their heavy coat so they don’t overheat. In winter, the coat grows back and they again mosey through the paddocks during the day. They also eat almost anything. While other cattle will turn their noses up at thistles and other undesirable species, our coos can’t get enough, providing natural weed control.
And don’t let the horns fool you — they are very friendly. You can feed the cattle by hand over the fence. Just follow the signs to the bovine buffet. Ewen, Annie, Andy and the gang will hear you coming, and be ready for a snack.