Calamity Louise will be 20 years old. This is difficult to comprehend for a number of reasons including how old our dear longhorn cow is, how times flies when we’re having fun and also, how many years have passed since we first started raising these beautiful animals. The longhorn industry has changed since we bought our first Texas Longhorn Cattle and we keep gaining more insight. However, what has stayed the same is the appeal the longhorn breed had for us when we originally set eyes on them.
From time to time, we introduce different characteristics into our longhorn herd but we seem to weigh up the changes against our original parameters. Because Louise is a foundation cow in our herd, she is a good example to point out some characteristic traits that we have looked for in establishing our Texas longhorn herd today.
Everybody in our herd has a distinct personality but common to all is that they are predominantly easy going.
Longhorn cattle can obviously cause considerable damage and we respect that. However, no matter what they look like, if they have an attitude they cannot stay at Green Valley Ranch. Louise does not like to be petted but she doesn’t mind us getting close to her either. She has always been calm and sociable. She will walk into the corral for treatment without much coaxing, if any. She likes to be fed by hand and she will come from far to be close to us if she knows we are around her pasture. We would often leave her in the pastures around our house so that she could hang out at our gate and around the perimeter of our yard.
Louise is now retired and spends her days in the Barn Field where we can keep an eye on her and where she has shelter from inclement weather. Like Louise, we chose our current longhorn BULL over another with similar genetics because of his sweet nature and handling ease.
2. Maternal instinct
Longhorn cows are generally good mothers and Louise is no exception. Like all our longhorn herd cows, Louise has good udders. She produces rich milk and has been very productive. She takes her role as a mother seriously. She loves her babies and they love her.
In her retirement Louise watches over the babies as they are weaned from their mamas.
Our longhorn cows are pasture fed and pasture raised. They have to fend for themselves and protect their babies. It is very necessary that our longhorn cows have good udders and strong maternal instincts.
Louise has somewhat of a sway back which is characteristic of Butler cattle, genetics predominant in her DNA. Having said that, we like our longhorn animals to be thick bodied with solid bone structure and square legs. We also prefer them to have a straight back rather than the sway back that Louise does have. Although we don’t halter train to show our bovines, many of our foundation longhorn cows are from original show stock and have that straight back characteristic.
There are only two pigments that are responsible for the coloration of Texas LonghorN cattle. Its the combination of these two or the lack there of that leads to thousands of color combinations and makes predicting color of offspring difficult and somewhat confusing.
We do love Louise’s patches but we also like the variations and unpredictability of all our longhorn cattle’s coats.The color diversity of a Longhorn is what attracted us to Texas longhorn cattle to begin with. It’s a genetic science and so we consider color as an important trait but weight it against all the other factors.
5. Horn shape and size
The Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Conservancy states on their home page that “historically correct, genetically pure Texas Longhorn cattle have been declared Critically Endangered …..”
What was considered a LONG Longhorn measurement when we purchased our first Longhorn is no longer impressive. There is no doubt that there is monetary value in Long longhorn measurements and there are breeders who prioritize horn length as the most important characteristic to strive towards. These days TTT ** measurements closing in on three digits is a thing – that is, horns spanning more than 8 feet! We have seen some impressive horn spans but for our own purposes we focus more on the shape. Louise’s extended horn twist is a classic look that we strive towards in our herd.
We love Louise, she makes us happy! Paul chose her years ago after doing his research.
There are more longhorn breeders now than ever registered with the TLBAA.*** There are also more opinions in the industry as to what constitutes the ultimate Texas Longhorn.
If you know what you want from your herd and you do your research your herd will reward you more than you will ever imagine.
* Beauty was born in 1961 on Milby Butler Ranch – READ MORE
** TTT is a standard measurement in the Longhorn industry to measure horns Tip To Tip.
*** TLBAA is the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America founded in 1964 by Charlie “Three” Schreiner III – READ MORE
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Each one of our Longhorns brings something special to the herd. As a community they are fascinating. We learn more about them everyday. We never imagined how much joy they would bring into our lives. We also enjoy hearing from you. Let us know what you think of our blog and if you are also lucky enough to have cattle, do they behave similarly/differently or in ways that stand out?
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Disclosure: The material noted above is based on our hands- on experience as farmers, as well as our observations of our own cattle over the years. We have done and continue to do extensive research in order to maintain our herd‘s optimum health and in order to best manage Green Valley Ranch. We respect our animals and would not approach cattle we do not know. All opinions and statements made on our website are meant as guidelines only. We are not trained specialists in animal behavior, nor are we qualified veterinarians or accountants and we urge you to consult a specialist with your concerns.
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