We researched Highland cattle for a few years before taking the plunge. We wanted a breed that was easy to handle, was low maintenance and finished well on grass. We also wanted a product that would be conducive to direct marketing - we enjoy the personal connection with our customers; be it breeding animals, pets or beef. Highlands fit the bill perfectly.
And to be honest, aesthetics and personality played major roles in our choice. Stocky, rugged with the shaggy coat, signature dossan and sweeping horns - there's no mistaking a Highland.
While they are smart, and sometimes stubborn - they are very gentle and calm. A history of living in close quarters with people quickly weeded out those animals with suspect temperaments. Maternal instinct is strong.
We are pleased to be registered with the Verified Beef Production ™ program. We are also members of the Canadian Highland Cattle Society & the American Highland Cattle Association.
Our Highlands are raised on large pastures, with lots of room to select prime forage according to the time of year. Sun cured alfalfa/grass hay is provided in the winter months. They always have access to fresh water and a vitamin/mineral supplement.
We walk through the cattle at least once a day - year round. Frequent interaction means less stress when we do have to work with them for health reasons. It also allows us to pick up on any changes in behaviour that may signal a health problem. Highlands are quite stoic, and tend to hide injury or ailments quite well. We have several “pets” that like to come for an alfalfa cube and a quick scratch. Others prefer a little more space, but all are accustomed to our presence.
Cows calve out on pasture, which means a little more legwork for us – but allows the cattle a little more choice in where they give birth. Some choose to calve amongst the fold, while others choose a secluded spot.
Calves are fence weaned, so the stress on both the calf and cow is minimal. We feed the cattle close to the calves for a few days and have very little bawling. We try to wean our calves a little older, about 10 months, depending on the condition of the cow.
Our cattle are grassfed, but do receive a few mouthfuls of grain when calling them into the corral when we need to work with them. When weaning calves, they also get a very small amount of grain a few times a week, so they learn to come when called (and when they see that bucket). Moving Highlands is much, much easier with a little bribery.
Animals destined to be eaten are happy animals. They spend their lives on open pasture with cattle they grew up with – with good food & drink. Routine antibiotics, growth hormones or ionophores are never used. However, if an animal is sick or injured, proper veterinary care is provided. All of our livestock are properly identified and we keep detailed health records. Those records are made available to customers – be it those purchasing livestock or beef. Food safety and trust is paramount.
Butchering takes place at a provincially inspected abattoir (so we can currently only sell to Albertans). The meat is dry-aged for 21 days to enhance the rich flavour and tenderness of the beef. Our Highland beef is sold by hanging weight – whole, halves and quarters. If you are interested in ordering delicious, grassfed, Highland beef, be sure to visit our Beef page for more information or contact us directly.