About Scottish Highland Cattle
Highland Cattle are an ancient breed known to have grazed the
rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century, making them
one of the oldest known breeds of cattle. They are
noted for their ease of calving, high quality lean beef and
Highland Cattle require a minimum of
management and care, do not require winter housing and they
forage readily where feed is sparse. Noted as browsers and brush
clearers, they eat much of what other cattle pass by. Their
double coat of hair makes the meat leaner since there is no need
for a fatty layer to keep them warm. Despite their long horns,
they are gentle and easily handled, are distinguished for their
quiet dispositions, superior intelligence and calm nature.
The extremely harsh conditions in Scotland created a process of
natural selection, where only the fittest and most adaptable
animals survived to carry on the breed. They come in various
colors, red and black being the most common but yellow, tan and
silver are also seen. Our cattle are in many shades of red
although we have had black and silver calves in the past.
We keep a very small herd of cows due to our land
conditions. Cattle are very heavy creatures and are hard on the
land in winter and spring when land is soggy, especially on land like
ours where the soils are mostly clay. We have therefore decided not to
expand our herd of cattle but only expand the flock of sheep
that are very light on the land and can start grazing in early
cattle are grass fed. We see no need to change that perfect
relationship between the cow and grass. The cows' stomach is designed to process
grass and not much grain. Grass makes them grow at a
normal pace whereas grain makes them bulk up unnaturally fast
and add on a huge amount of fat. This is not healthy for
anyone, neither animal or human.
We practice rotational grazing.
It means the cows are moved to a different pasture as soon as
their existing one is grazed down. For us that is about
one week. Our animals are so used to this rotational
schedule that if we are late they stand by the fence and call
winter we generally confine our cows to one area where we feed them
hay. This is called the sacrificial area since it gets
totally trampled. This prevents
the soils on the rest of the pastures to be compacted by these
heavy creatures. As soon as conditions allow, usually in
late March, we let the cows out again and the whole rotation
starts all over again.
Highland cattle have a very thick winter coat and the outer
layer is very long. This helps them cope with wet cold
weather and in fact, winters here in the Northwest are
nothing to them. But the summers on the other hand are more difficult. We
therefore make sure they have shade all through the summer.
Shade is important to all of us, humans and animals alike.
of our small herd size we do not keep a bull but rent one
instead. We are therefore, not always able to get a
Highland bull and have experimented in mixing the Highland breed
with other local breeds. We feel that since we are not
breeding to expand the herd and only to raise the calves for meat
this does not affect the Highland breed it self.
Our customer base for beef is mainly in the Rochester and
Olympia area. Since we only slaughter two animals each year
and 1/4 beef is the minimum order. There are not that many 1/4
beef to go
around. We have had great response to this lean beef.
The same customers come back year after year.
Sue: Your beef is the best I have ever had. I had no
idea there was meat like this available. We feel so lucky
to be on your mailing list.
and Dana: We want to tell you that your beef is the BEST
WE EVER HAD IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. Really. Every cut, ever
bite is simply delicious -- full of flavor, great texture. Yay!
Ben from Ben's Custom
Yours are the nicest grass fed beef
I have seen in a long time. There are grass
fed and there are grass and well fed animals. Yours are in the