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Common Name:  Herens

Other Common Names:  Valais, Eringer (German)

Scientific Name:  Bos taurus  (Full Taxonomy)


Origin or Range:  Switzerland

Relative Size:  Smaller Than Average  
    (as compared to other cattle)

Average Lifespan:  ??? year(s)

Compatibility:  Relatively Non-Aggressive   
    (as compared to other cattle)

Category:  Mammals » Cattle
Animal Description:  

We have all heard of bullfights, but what about non-bloody cow fights to determine the Queen Cow of the Season? It may sound strange but really it expressed the pride Herens Cattle owners show for their breed!

Herens Cattle are extremely docile and easy to handle. They have been treasured for their docile and affectionate natures for centuries! Contrary to this little bit of information, Herens Cattle have a tradition of "fighting"! Herdsmen and breeders are trained to "fight" their Herens cows each spring. There is no blood or violence involved in the process! Basically, two cows are placed head to head. They both push their heads together, and the weaker cows back down. These contests generally last less than a minute, and the strongest cow is declared the Queen of the cows for the grazing season! The tradition of the fighting Herens Cattle is very old and is intended as friendly competition between breeders, much like a modern livestock show.

At maturity, Herens bulls usually stand a little more than 120 centimeters at the shoulder. Cows are a few centimeters shorter and usually weigh around 500 kilograms. They are usually solid red or brown in color, but occasionally have a black underside! A lighter dorsal stripe is evident in most Herens Cattle and their heads are large. Herens Cattle have a generally compact appearance, with a short head, short legs, and large shoulders. Their polls are broad and their necks are quite powerful. A good Herens cow will produce 2,900 kilograms and upwards of milk each year.

Herens Cattle have been evident in their native Alpine meadows as early as 3,000 BC! Over the years, Herens Cattle evolved as a sporting breed; their herdsmen were specially trained for their cattle fights. The cattle fights continue today, but Herens Cattle are now used for milk and draft power as well as figureheads for breeders! They are one of the smallest European breeds and are also known as Valais or Eringer Cattle after their native region!

Specific Care Information: Relative Care Ease: Average

Traditionally, Herens Cattle were driven up into Alpine pastures in spring and summer and fought at the season's beginning. In winter, they were kept in the warmer, lower altitudes. Today, Herens Cattle are still kept around 3,000 kilometers above sea level, but modern herds are housed for the harshest six months of the year and fed grazing and fodder.

Breeding and Propagation: Relative Breeding Ease: Average

Herens Cattle have low calving intervals but an average age at sexual maturity. They have an average calving ease, calving rate and rate of calf mortality. Herens cows produce plenty of milk for their calves and make extremely docile mothers.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015