How much do they cost?
Below are some base prices in general. Other factors such as age, actual height and characteristics also make a difference.
Female, Under 18 months, Un-bred $2,900
Female Bred $3,500
Female w/mini heifer calf at side $4,600
Female w/mini bull calf at side $7,200
Bull under 18 months $4,000
Bull over 18 months $4,700
How big do they get?
Miniature 42” or under at 3 years (can be a small as 35”)
Midsize over 42” to 45” at 3 years
Standard over 45”at 3 years
Where do they come from?
Centuries ago the remote rugged islands off the west coast of northern Scotland provided a home for the wild “Kyloe”, an ancestor of the present day Highland cattle. They were small and predominantly black.
Domestication and cross breeding with their larger and mostly red cousins from the Scottish mainland has produced the animals we presently know as Highland Cattle.
Miniature Highland Cattle are a reproduction of the older animal and are defined as Highland Cattle that remain under 42″ tall at the shoulder when fully mature. Prior to 1900, Highland Cattle as small as 350 pounds were not unusual. This compares with full size Highland cattle weighing 800 to 2000 pounds today.
What are the benefits of Highland Cattle
So many years of natural selection in the harsh island conditions produced an extremely hardy breed. They require little in the way of shelter or expensive feed supplements in order to remain in good condition. In fact, they seem to eat what others would pass by and are often purchased for their ability to clear brush and bramble.
Highlands are known for their even temperament, strong mothering instincts and their ease in calving.
Their long shaggy hair and forelocks provide protection from extremes in temperature, wind, snow and disease carrying insects as well. This hair also acts to replace the extra outer layer of fat present on most modern beef breeds and makes Highland beef one of the very lowest in fat and cholesterol.
What is the “Personality” of Highland Cattle?
Their wild heritage gives Highlands a personality and intelligence all their own. Very clannish with their young and each other, they seem completely at home no matter where they live.
With their formidable horns few predators dare bother them. Watching these uniquely beautiful animals as they interact with each other and their environment can provide one with endless hours of enjoyment.
The market today is shifting in the direction of smaller acreage, leaner meats and miniature animals. These conditions are ideal for a re-emergence of small Highland Cattle as a breed of prominence. Alternative livestock is assuming an ever increasing role as a productive method of land use.
What is the status of Miniature Highland Cattle as a Breed?
At the present time there are very few Highlands that can qualify as true Miniature Highland Cattle. Because of their magical beauty and as their numbers grow, Miniature Highlands are destined to be one of the most sought after miniature cattle and will take their place as a favored exotic. Once an ancient and forgotten species, these “new” cattle are sure to find a good home in the modern world.
What support is available?
These are still cattle and anyone familiar with cattle can help you. Feed stores are a good source for names of local cattle men or women that might be willing to help. 4H is a great way to get into showing, or simple show your miniature Highland Cattle at the local Fair under the “Other Breeds” category. Showing is a great family activity and a surefire way to meet other cattle people.
Also, you can join the International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society. They have a website and a great newsletter. Specific information on Highland Cattle in general is available from the American Highland Cattle Association. Although the AHCA does not register miniature cattle unless they are from existing AHCA bloodlines, they are worth joining just for their excellent breed literature and their quarterly magazine.
What are some of the downside challenges?
Although Highland Cattle are likely the all time champions at easy birthing, when breeding miniatures, the chance of a birthing problem goes up.
What are some of the advantages of Miniature Highland Cattle?
- Small cattle are easier on the land, equipment and facilities
- Easier to handle than large commercial beef cattle
- Easier (and better for the animal) to maintain a small herd as opposed to a solitary animal
- More animals per acre
- Conversion of feed per pound of beef is virtually the same as with commercial beef cattle
- For beef purposes, Miniature Highlands come closer to a family’s needs than large commercial beef cattle
- Naturally grown Highland beef is tasty and better for your family with less fat and cholesterol.
For further information, give us a call or visit us in Fiddletown, CA. There is much to talk about and talking is better after you have seen them. Ours is the oldest and largest Miniature Highland Cattle project in the world. Our miniature breeding goes back into the early 1980’s.