Friday, January 28, 2011
Longhorns in the Mountains
When I head to town to get supplies, I drive by a huge ranch that has always intrigued me - they have Texas Longhorn Cattle - not something you would expect to see in the mountains of North Carolina. On a cold blustery day last weekend after the snow had melted, I stopped to take some photos by the side of the road.
The ranch is Taylor Ranch, a 5th generation privately owned ranch consisting of 500 acres including a 7 acre lake. They raise Quarter Horses and Longhorn Cattle and as I have found out, rent out their facilities for special events. I guess when the weather warms up I need to visit them to see more of their compound.
Now about the cattle here - the Texas Longhorns are obviously known for their horns which on a steer can reach 7 feet from tip to tip! Both cows and bulls (female and male) have horns but the bulls are usually shorter and thicker. Steers (castrated males) can have the longest horns. As ferocious as they look, they have gentle dispositions and are intelligent. Good thing since I was very close to the one near the fence while taking pictures.
The breed seems to have originated by mixing feral Mexican cattle with eastern Texas breeds to create a tough, rangy cow with long horns and legs. They almost went extinct until 1927 when the US Forest Service collected a small herd to breed and preserve in an Oklahoma wildlife refuge. Longhorns are known for their longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive in marginal pastures and harsh weather. They are raised for their lean beef. So I guess seeing them in North Carolina is not so unexpected after all!
Hope you enjoyed seeing this unusual place on our area and will come back when I do a more in depth post on the whole facility.