Scottish Highland Cattle Colors

Red, Yellow, White, Black, Dun, Silver and Brindle

Here comes the genetic geek in me.  There are silver based and white based Highland cows.  In general there is pink nose leather with pure white cows, Yellow cows, or Red cows.  You can also get Highlanders that have gray nose leather.  These are Silver, Dunn, or Black in color.  The pink nose / white, leather color genes are dominant to the cows with gray nose leather /silver.  There are also Brindle and on occasion a purebred Highlander that has white and the solid color.  Those are different genes than the first examples we talked about.  

Effie Silver and Phyllis Yellow

The technology exists now to have a color DNA done for your specific cow, which is cool.  I love the classic Red cow, and will probably always have 1 but I really love the silver cows.  There is a color chart available that can predict the offspring colors.

Here is the link. Calf Color Highland Cattle Chart  

Our red cow cannot produce a silver calf because of the homozygous dominant for yellow gene.  She can be bred to a silver, which will ensure all her progeny have a copy of the silver gene. This is useful in determining what colors her progeny can produce.    The Red cow Phyllis, crossed with the silver bull Genesis could potentially produce a gray nosed calf of some color provided he or she was bred to another silver carrier or a Gray nosed bull.  

Dunn is a particularly interesting color, as it can produce any color of calf, pending the genetics of the cow,  which adds a surprise factor when your babies arrive.  SInce I want silver cows I naturally selected a silver bull to put these genetics in place.  Please don’t imagine I only selected the bull based on the color that was just icing on the cake.  

The color of the cow has no reflection on the meat, or carcass value.  I will always want to have a diversely colored herd per my own goals. The AHCA, or American Highland Club Association is the American registry for Scottish Highland Cattle. This organization recognizes all these cattle colors and are an invaluable resource to owners. All our cows and calves are registered with AHCA.

This calf looks Dunn, and by his black nose he is certain to be Dunn or solid Black. He in fact turned solid Black.

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