Hints & Tips for Buying Highland Cattle

13 July 2020

Hints and Tips for Buying Highland Cattle

Before buying, get advice from somebody who knows both the Highland breed and the sellers,

and if possible, visit the large shows and the Highland Cattle Show and Sales to get a good feel for the cattle and chat to breeders.

Visit Highland breeders and ask questions. Breeders can be found all over the UK and they are usually more than happy to see you and talk to you whether you are buying or not. Check out different land types, management routines, handling facilities and health plans.

Think about what your end goals are.

Go to a sale that is run under the auspices of the Highland Cattle Society (HCS). The sale will follow the HCS and the NBA (National Beef Associations) regulations. At a sale you should get more choice of cattle and blood lines. You will also have certain sale warranties. Check the conditions of purchase.

Watch the cattle being haltered.

Take the cattle out for a walk about. Can you handle it, does it walk well? Watch it walk from all angles.

Look for a straight back, good depth of chest, a good udder with teats not too fat, good feet, a square back end and wide across the hips and chest.

Ask what type of land they have been on, are they fed and what with, have the cattle ever been indoors, do they have a crush? Compare the consignee’s regime to yours.

Ask if they have ever had any problems. Check their health status, have the cattle had any vaccinations, how often do they TB test? Are they tick acclimatised? If it’s a bull, has the semen been tested, has it any progeny?

As well as at auction, you can buy from breeders directly. You can find them through the Highland Cattle Society website or their database and regional clubs’ facebook pages and even buy at shows. Always visit to check out the cattle on the ground and ask questions.

Pedigree Registration of cattle can be checked by going to: www.highlandcattlesociety.com once there click on the Members Database on the top right hand corner of your screen. Click Cattle Search then type in the animals Ear Tag Number. This will then show you whether the animal is registered or not.

Always ask advice

Buy more than one, these are herd animals and need company

Remember the old adage – ‘you get what you pay for’, especially at an auction. If it’s cheap ask yourself why does nobody else want it? But remember, high price doesn’t necessarily mean its the best cow. At an auction set yourself a limit AND STICK TO IT!

Remember at a show and auction cattle will have been produced especially for that day.

The Highland Cattle Society have fieldsmen who can help and advice. Just contact the Society for information on breeders near you.

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