Scotish Highland Grazing Question

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Oct 12, 2006.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    May 11, 2002
    I know they do well as browsers on scrub or brushy land. However, in a pasture do they eat weeds other cattle won't? Wondering if running one or two could reduce the need to bushhog down weeds.
  2. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2004
    Ours (have 4) have eaten everything that comes up! No need to bush hog nothing in their pastures. (I do have American Blackbellies and Katahdins with them so not sure if it's just the Highlands or the highlands and sheep. I do know I had to have it bush hogged when I only had sheep though.) Sure is nice to see cedar seedlings stubs only!


  3. phantompark

    phantompark Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    Ours do a pretty good job eating almost everything. Ours even ate mint this year.
    We intensive rotational graze and they do really well. We clipped in the June when the pasture got away from them. They couldn't eat it fast enough. But that was it.
  4. Muskrat

    Muskrat Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    My Highlands, even with good pasture provided, will and have eaten thistles, blackberry vines, cedar trees, kudzu, poison ivy, young cabbages, and my mother's straw hat.

    Their individual preferences vary, but they are by and large willing to eat what is served. You might want to graze them more intensively in limited areas for limited times so they will be less apt to pick and choose.
  5. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    My main pasture of 40 acres, because of the lay of the land and watercourses that run through cannot be effectively subdivided, on top of that it is marginal ground ,having been a sand mine for a brick ,tile factory in the1800's
    It has not got and cant sustain for long good forage , so what is mostly there is old field weeds and damp ground grasses and of coarse the ever present rose bushes ..
    the coo,s eat jsut about any of it .. they do not care for ironweed , big bull thistles as a rule, nutgrass,and some of teh other rushes that pop up in the damp ground, also there is a type of damp ground grass they will eat as a last resort If tehy are VERY hungry they will browse all those as well .. but thats when there is nothing left ...
    Rose bushes .. they farm , they will eat them down to about 3 feet .. and then let tender sprouts grow .. the really large roses they will either tear up , or eat into the bases , making it easy to get a chain around and thus yanking them up
    they will eat all mannor of sapplings,bushes and forbes.
    In my rotational pastures, I still have to mow at least once a summer .. good grass/legumes .. adn they will leave the roses and thistles alone .. ohh mine wont eat yellow or curly dock either making it a nessecity to mow the pastures before those go to seed .

    I will caution .. many years ago our illustrious breed association used to promote highly teh browsing abbilities ,and their ability to gain and thrive in marginal weedy pastures .. and it was promoted in such a way that many first time cattle owners thought that was all that was required to feed their beasts .. I have over the years even run accross folks who didnt think they even need to feed hay in teh winter , that the cows could subsist by pawing down to what forage was beneath snow .. while true they are more apt to do that than most other breeds .. those folks almost always ended up with stunted sometimes emaciated cows and thought that was normal.
    And though highlands are not a large framed beast and it is a falicy they grow and mature slowly , there is no reason not to have a finished steer by 20 months or so if given good nutrition (that doesnt always mean grain finishing .. for you grass fed folks )
    sorry I got off subject ... but those beliefs are still floating around

    If you intensively graze there isnt to much a highland wont eat .. (but I defy any one to get them to eat nutgrass .. I havent been able !!

    Paula ..
    who just got back on Sunday from the KILE where my little dun heifer took grand champ junior division , and who bought a new herd bull.
    Any one wanna buy a really good natured older bull ? Good blood lines easy to handle , hasnt missed for me yet ...I really hate to put the really good natured ones in the freezer .. and he really needs a new home .. with the new one it makes three .. and the older one is now redundant as I have a son from him I want to keep, By spring if I havent found a home he will be in the freezer .....
  6. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    No. Illinois

    Sent a PM.
  7. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 12, 2004
    Cows as a rule won't eat around manure piles. That's why a grazed pasture looks so clumpy. There's nothing like some goats to eat those clumps down.

    An added advantage to goats is that the worms that attack cattle and goats are different. When a goat eats the young cattle worms, it doesn't hurt the goats, but kills the worms. Same is true the other way, so having cattle and goats on the same pasture is good for both of them.

    I also put Muscovy ducks on the pasture. They love to tear up a manure pile, looking for uneaten bits or larvae. This dries out the pile so that it won't hatch flies. Muscovies also eat adult flies, and will gladly pick them off of resting cows. I never had to treat for flies this year, after the ducks got old enough to do the job.

    Add a few guineas and the ticks are gone, too.

    There's nothing like having your animals work for you.

    Paradise Farm
  8. phantompark

    phantompark Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2003
    We have NO clumps because we rotate the chickens behind the cows. They do a great job and make a little money on the side with some really great eggs.
    They do a pretty good job taking care of the fly larvae. Next year I may try some Muscovy ducks also.
    It is so wonderful letting animals do what they naturally do.
  9. arcticow

    arcticow Well-Known Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    My three cows clean up everything from brome pasture &raspberry bushes to birch sprouts. They will strip everything but alders. Up here, with brome hay@$6 in the field (alfalfa $30-feed store)brush feed helps. Thankfully, no wild onions to deal with.BUT, the state says purple vetch is a noxious weed!
  10. farmergirl

    farmergirl Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 2, 2005
    Austin-ish, Texas
    How do you like the Katahdins? I've heard they are much more docile than the Barbados. Currently our flock is all Barbados, but I'd like to introduce some "mellower" ewes this winter. Am thinking of buying a few Katahdins...