Cattle breeds are a careful choice for your ranch. You need to consider your climate, predators and feed availability on your ranch including the end result you want, whether it be 4H and registered breeding, for market or just for family consumption. We have some of the most common breeds below.
There are cattle with or without horns. Cattle breeds without horns are called “polled”. Cows and bulls can both have horns. The horns are effective weapons against predators and tend to deter would be cattle thieves. Bulls also use their horns to compete with other bulls for breeding rights of the herd.
Polled Cattle Breeds
Above: Polled charolais bull in the brush.
The Angus cattle breed winter very well, are protective mothers and gain weight well. Domestic breeds such as Angus and Hereford can be “polled” or horned. We have also chosen “polled” Angus cows meaning without horns, we do not have very many large predators. They do well on pasture and dry lot. Angus cattle come red or black in color. Charolais, Hereford or Limousine would have worked just fine also for our climate. See our friends over at Wright Charolais for some beautiful herd bulls and cows www.wccharolais.com.
Domestic cattle breeds such as Angus and Hereford can be
“polled” or horned. The above 4H Hereford bull pictured top is polled and the above 4H Hereford bull pictured bottom above is horned.
Horned Cattle Breeds
Some cattle breeds are better suited to more remote climates or climates that have aggressive predators such as mountain lions and bigger coyotes. Such as Corriente cattle, Longhorn cattle or Watusi cattle. These cattle breeds are more brightly colored but also can have thinner hide and prefer a warmer climate.
Above: Breed of cattle, Corriente, in a summer pasture.
Above: Watusi cattle in a pasture.
A Watusi cows’ milk is about 10 percent fat. Some dairy farmers have used crossbred Watusi ranch cows in their herds to boost the butter-fat levels. Watusi cattle tolerate high temperatures. The large horns act as radiators; blood flowing through the horns is cooled and then returned to the body. This disperses body heat more efficiently. The horns also serve as efficient weapons
Above top: Longhorn cow and round bale feeder.
Above bottom: Longhorn steer in a pasture.
The Longhorn cattle breed are highly fertile, easy calving, disease and parasite resistant, hardy and have the ability to utilize the coarse pasture grasses more efficiently than most other breeds.
The Brahman cattle breed have very thin skin. They do well in summer heat, but not in the winter months. They actually produce less internal body heat in hot environments. The brahman cattle breed can be somewhat gentle if handled and bred properly, but also in reverse if mis-handled. The calves are born small, but grow fast.
Brahman bull laying in pasture above top.
Brahman heifer in a dry lot pen above bottom.