May I introduce our heifers from left to right: Star, Blackie, Cinderella, Muffy and Patches. This is my first experience with cows and I’m learning so much! They were really young when this photo was taken and it’s been fun to watch them grow.
These girls are Pineywoods cows and they spend their days swishing their tails, grazing, and chewing. The Pineywoods is one of the oldest breeds of cattle in the United States, descending from Spanish cattle brought to the Americas beginning in the early 1500s. Pineywoods cattle are an endangered breed of “heritage” livestock that are descended from the original Spanish stock left along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama. They have evolved to be naturally resistant to most diseases and are able to forage on rough vegetation that commercial cattle will not touch. Pineywoods are also “dry land” cattle and have evolved to avoid predators by spending only a minimum of time at their water hole. This makes them very low impact cattle, as they do not contribute to bank erosion and fouling of streams like most domestic stock.
We are excited to care for this endangered heritage breed. Like many other heritage animals, these cows are well suited to their environment and very low maintenance. My husband loves cows and often comments how these behave differently than mainstream breeds. They are very skittish, they have a distinct pecking order, and they gallop at full speed across the pasture for no apparent reason.
We (actually, my husband…) plan to breed them so that we can produce healthy grass fed beef from happy cows. These girls are very happy, glossy and fat! We are certainly not vegetarians, but you may have noticed from my blog that I don’t eat a lot of meat. I believe that how and what we eat matters, and I want to feel good about the animals I consume. It’s exciting to work towards producing another awesome ingredient to cook with!