The Heilan Coo - Did you know...?
Today, we take a look at Scotland's arguably most famous resident - the Highland Cow. Known for their beautiful red coats and long horns, the highland cow has found itself with quite a reputation. Although this well loved creature is famously iconic, behind the image, there are a number of facts about this fascinating cow that you may not know:
1. 'Highland Cattle' or 'Heilan Coo' (Scots) comes from the
Gaelic translation of 'Ghaidhealach'.
to have grazed on Scotland's rugged terrain since the sixth
century, the Highland Cow has certainly seen Scotland through a lot
of it's history.
The Highland Cow's strikingly wavy coat is well known for being
red in colour, however they can be a number of other colours too.
Black, brindle, yellow, white, and silver are also known coat colours
for these magnificent cows
The hair or "bangs" on their forehead often covering their
eyes is called a 'dossan'.
5. They have an unusual double coat of hair, the outside of which is the longest of any cattle breed. The oily outer coat covers the downy undercoat which gives an overall water and windproof, but cosy coat. Perfect for surviving in the wild Scottish winters!
6. Although they sport dauntingly long horns, the Highland Cow is actually a docile creature. The only problem you'll have is if you get in the way of them and their young, as they are extremely protective.
7. The Highland Cow's long horns are, in fact, for foraging and digging through snow, for food in the winter.
8. Originally, farmers kept Highland Cows as 'house cows' and would use them for milk and meat production. The Highland Cattle Registry (Herd Book) was first established in 1885 and is the oldest herd book in the world, which in turn makes the Highland Cow the oldest registered cow in the world.
9. A group of cattle is normally called a 'herd', however a group of Highland Cows is called a 'fold'. This is due to Highland Cows originally being kept in shelters made of stone, called folds, in the winter to protect them from the elements.
10. In Scots, the term for a 'fold' is 'Kyoles'. Originally there were two types of Highland Cows. Those known as Kyoles, which were small and black in colour. They were associated with the West of Scotland and the Islands. The larger, red haired cattle were known to be associated with the Highlands.
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