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Longhorn FAQs



Siesta Time

 

Where did the Texas Longhorn Originate?

Texas Longhorns are descended from the first cattle first brought to the Americas over 500 years ago.  Christopher Columbus brought Spanish cattle to Santo Domingo in 1493 and within 200 years their descendents had spread into Mexico. 

In 1690 a herd of about 200 head of cattle was driven from Mexico to a mission near the Sabine River, an area of land which would later become known as Texas.  The missions and early settlers would not survive all of the harsh elements of this wild and rugged country, but the Texas Longhorn would.  A century or so of running wild made the Texas Longhorn a tough and hardy breed, able to survive blizzards, droughts, dust storms, attacks by other animals , and Indians.  They became good foragers, surviving on limited amounts water, and whatever vegetation was available. 

Why raise Texas Longhorns?

Texas Longhorns are an ideal breed of cattle for owners who do not necessarily live on their land full time.  They are colorful pasture ornaments.  They are easier to maintain than many other breeds because of their easy birthing and hardy constitutions.  They are an up and coming source of low fat, high protein red meat for the beef market.  A Texas Longhorn steak is lower in fat and cholesterol than a chicken breast.

What does it take to keep and manage today's Texas Longhorns?

To maintain a healthy, productive, herd of Texas Longhorns, requires a minimal investment in infrastructure and upkeep.  A well-fenced pasture with an adequate source of clean water is required.  The water can come from free flowing year round creeks, permanent ponds, water troughs fed by wells, etc.  Longhorns eat grass, and also forage, browsing on trees and bushes.  The better the pasture you have, however, the more prosperous your herd will be.  Longhorns prefer some form of shelter from the elements, whether it be thick woods, or lean-to's in an open pasture. 

Most people tend to think of a Texas Longhorn as being a very lean, big-boned animal, inclined to be long on the horn and short on the beef.  But contrary to popular belief, given a favorable grazing range  and an opportunity to get all it wants to eat, a longhorn will lose that lean and hungry look.

Do  you need to provide supplemental nutrition?

Longhorns, as any mammals, require salt and minerals all year round.  In the winter protein supplementation in the form of protein tubs or range cubes, along with hay is vitally important.  If there is not enough pasture for them to graze, hay must be provided, keeping in mind their rumination process.  On average, cattle spend about one third of their time grazing, one third ruminating, and one third sleeping.

What other care do Texas Longhorns require?

All cattle should be wormed in the Spring and in the Fall, and they should be immunized according to the guidelines of your area, as recommended by your vet.

Do you feed them something special to make their horns grow so big?

No, you don't.  Horn growth is a product of Longhorn genetics.  It is in the individual animals genes.  It is a big business developing the right genetics for the longest horns.  Selective breeding has increased the length of horn over the last 30 years, but it is not a sure thing that two prize winning parents will always produce prize winning offspring.  It sure is fun trying, though.  In nature, their horns serve as protection against predators.   A bull protects his herd from rivals, and a cow protects her calf. 

Are Texas Longhorns mean?

The Texas Longhorn of today has been bred selectively, not only for horn and color, but especially for a gentle disposition.  Aggressive Longhorns should be culled from the gene pool.  Keep in mind, however, that a frightened Longhorn will use his or her horns to defend itself.  Generally Longhorns respond well to gentle handling.  They are very intelligent animals.  They can learn their names, and eventually can be called from the pasture by calling their name.  They are truly one of God's beautiful creations.
 


 

Lots of TLC goes a  long way

We brought this little heifer calf to our place to wean and to halter train her for our neighbors.  She was one mean little calf.  She tried to butt us and generally run us out of the holding pen, and when we brought her to the vet's for shots she had everyone climbing the panels to get out of her way.  A little calf with a big attitude.  We had never encountered one quite like her before, and were seriously thinking she needed to be culled from the gene pool.  We put her in the small goat pen for three days. 

 

Carol went out every morning and every afternoon and just sat and talked to her and offered her feed and cubes.  She didn't like Carol one bit at first.  After a little while she began to come up and sniff Carol, she could smell the cubes in her pocket.  By the third day, she was taking the cubes from Carol's pocket.  As it turned out, she wasn't a mean little heifer calf, just a scared one.  To this day she is one of the gentlest cows in our neighbors' herd.  Don't give up!  Lots of TLC goes a long way. 

 
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