For Sale: Rare Scottish Highlands | Owner bids farewell to beloved breed

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Moxie Pratt loves on ‘Amous,’ a young bull at the farm.

By Moxie Pratt

BAY CITY ROAD – I acquired my fold of Scottish Highlands four years ago, right after I bought my little farm north of the Beaufort County line. Yes, I say ‘fold’ instead of herd – and believe me, they are a very distinct breed.

Our 19-acre spread had been deserted for quite a while. The pastures were nothing but a mass of waist high weeds. My research had shown that Scottish Highlands could thrive in the worst of fields because they are an ancient breed that began in the windswept Highland of Scotland. Their calves are born small but so hardy that usually the cattleman finds the calf kicking up their heels in the pasture before the owner even recognizes the mom had begun labor.

Occasionally, Scottish Highlands are grayish-red, a color known as ‘Dunn.’

The cows are known as great mothers. The breed has graduated from the endangered list with the Livestock Conservancy – they are now on the Recovering list.


In this country, Scottish Highlands are usually found in the northern states. Mine were all born in Colorado. My fold began with five cows – one with a heifer at her side and one with a six-month old bull calf.

: A buyer gets the privilege of naming a new calf seen here with mother, Roxanne!

Beside black, they are various shades of ginger-red. Highlands can also be white and ‘Dunn,’ which is a grayish-red. When mine arrived on the weekend after Thanksgiving, they had already grown their long coats that the breed is known for. Two months later I discovered just how hardy a Highland can be.

I called the cows up for some treats (often apples) to show them to my grandchildren. I was horrified to see that one of the cows, Hoxie, was not only missing a back hoof but where her ankle should have been was nothing but six inches of jagged bone! Nevertheless, she was only a second behind in her arrival with the remainder of the fold.

The veterinarian, Sonny Horton, was astounded that Hoxie had continued to thrive with so horrendous an injury. She said there was no chance she could have maintained a pregnancy but felt that we should check, just in case.

A week later, the examination showed she was carrying a calf about the size of a cat! Four months later, Hoxie had a well healed stump and a bull calf. The only treatment she had received was a move for her into our yard so she did not have to compete with the other cows in the pasture. She enjoyed raising her calf — and she did not pass away until the injury was a year old.

Scottish Highlands are usually docile, putting up with piggies that gobble some of the same feed.

My vet went to one of her professors at NC State with the story. The faculty member said he had never heard of any cow living so long after such an injury, not even considering the fact tat she had maintained her pregnancy and also raised her calf.

Highlands are a docile breed but care needs to always be taken with any breed. I was feeding treats and then raising my hands to show I had no more. One of my ‘girls’ sneaked up behind me, and literally picked me up with her horns – then dropped me! She ran behind a small tree (which in no way could hide her large girth) peeking frequently around it – lovingly checking on me to see if I had gotten up! Only then did she more from behind the tree.

Highlands use their long hair during the winter months to keep warm, and the hair is water resistant so rain does not bother them. Unlike most cows they do not need a fat layer for warmth. Instead they
deposit their fat within the meat, making it well marbled. Studies have shown that the meat of Scottish Highlands is about 38 percent lower in fat, with 4 percent less cholesterol. The meat is known for its tenderness.

Now considered a beef cow, at one time the blacks were a separate milking breed. Their milk is quite high in butter fat. They are a medium sized breed – bulls approach 1600 pounds, and the cows 1000 pounds. They are also long lived cows, often producing calves into their late teens, frequently living to be 20 years old. They have short legs and have excellent health. These factors make them a multi-use cow, excellent for the small farmer. The queen of England has her own fold. Wonder if she considers herself a homesteader?

Alas, the time has come to part with my fold of Scottish Highlands. If you would like to begin your own fold, please text me at 252-639-0849 or email me at: I intend to sell them at a significant discount to their current market value.

I have poor cell phone reception here, but I can return texts with a call when I go outside my home. I hope to hear from you! Please come visit me, and my beloved Scottish Highlands!