An introduction to Highland Cattle


Highland cattle, also known as "Highlanders," or "Coo's" are a unique and hardy breed of cattle that have been around for centuries. Here's a about Highlanders:

Where did they come from? 

Highland cattle are originally from Scotland, where they have been roaming the rugged hills and moors for hundreds of years. They have been specifically bred to survive in harsh climates and rugged terrain, making them well-suited to life in the Scottish highlands.

When did they come to Australia? 

Highland cattle were first introduced to Australia in the early 19th century. They quickly proved to be well-suited to the harsh Australian climate and have been used extensively in the beef industry ever since.

What are desirable characteristics in Highland cattle? 

Highland cattle are known for their hardiness, adaptability, and longevity. They are also known for their long hair and distinctive horns, which can reach up to 2 feet in length. They are also known for their docile temperament and good mothering abilities.

What is their nature like? 

Highland cattle are known for being docile, friendly and easy to handle. They are also very hardy and can survive in harsh conditions, making them an ideal choice for farmers in Australia.

Where can they be registered? 

Highland cattle can be registered with the Highland Cattle Society of Australia. The society was established in 1987 and aims to promote the breeding and showing of Highland cattle in Australia.

What is their average size and weight? 

Highland cattle are known for being a large breed. Bulls can weigh up to 1,200 kg and cows can weigh up to 800 kg. Highlanders can reach a height of about 1.4m at the shoulder.

What colours do they come in? 

Highland cattle are often associated with a red/orange colour, but they actually come in a variety of colours, including black, brindle, red, yellow, and white. Dr Glen Hastie has done some excellent work on the genetics of highland cattle colours and it is my goto resource.

Caring for highland cattle

Highland cattle are a hardy however they may be inflected with any issue impacting cattle generally, whillst you may never face any of these issues we thought it helpful to cover some of the more common concerns.

Bloat: is a buildup of gas in the rumen. This can cause discomfort and even become life-threatening if not treated promptly. Some grains in particular oats may contribute to bloat, however it is a great feed if introduced slowley, however being off for even one day may require you to introduce the feed progressively again.

Internal parasites: Like all cattle, Highlands can be affected by internal parasites such as worms and liver flukes. Regular deworming and pasture management can help prevent this issue. 

Eye problems: Pink-eye is well known in cattle and can come from dirt or other contamenation. Highland cattle's long hair can sometimes cause eye problems, such as irritation or infection. Trimming the hair around the eyes and ensuring the animals have access to clean, dry environments can help prevent this issue. 

Joint issues: Although they are generally a healthy breed, some Highland cattle may be prone to joint issues such as hip dysplasia, particularly as they age. e. Fertility issues: Some Highland cattle may experience lower fertility rates, which can be addressed through proper nutrition and breeding management.

Hooves: Keep an eye on your cattle hooves, if you leave it to long it may be to late to correct if the claws are crossing over (once the blood supply grows in). A yearly inspection and trim can be helpful. Foreign objects can damage the hoof and once damaged a wet environment can lead to infection.

By being aware of these potential issues, owners can take steps to prevent them and provide their Highland cattle with the best possible care. Regular veterinary check-ups and good management practices are essential to maintaining the health and well-being of any cattle breed, including Highland cattle.


Here at the Farmers Lot, we want you to be informed buyers and sellers of Highland cattle and their products. You can buy and sell Highland cattle on The Farmers Lot, subject to complying with national, state and local regulations and bylaws. Highland cattle are a great option for farmers looking for a hardy and adaptable breed of cattle that can thrive in harsh conditions. With their distinctive long hair, horns, and docile temperament, they are a unique and eye-catching addition to any farm. If you're interested in adding Highland cattle to your herd, be sure to check out The Farmers Lot for your next purchase.


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