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A Texas longhorn cow

The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 7 feet (2.1 m) tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows, and 36 to 48 inches (0.91 to 1.2 m) tip to tip for bulls. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist. Texas Longhorns are known for their diverse coloring. The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and the International Texas Longhorn Association serve as the recognized registries for the breed. Texas Longhorns with elite genetics can often fetch $40,000 or more at auction with the record of $160,000 in recent history for a cow.[1] Due to their innate gentle disposition and intelligence, Texas Longhorns are increasingly being trained as riding steers.

The Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry Certified Texas Longhorn Registry (CTLR), is the recognized breed registry dedicated to preserving the purest Texas Longhorn bloodlines. Using visual inspection of cattle by the most knowledgeable Texas Longhorn breeders and the use of bloodtype analysis to further identify parentage, CTLR has the ideal of preserving fullblood Texas Longhorn cattle for posterity.[2]

Contents

History of the breed

A Texas longhorn steer

The first domestic cattle to reach the Americas were imported from Spain from about 1493 and spread out to form a hardy race adapted to the local conditions, becoming semi-wild in places. It is likely, but not certain, that cattle imported by settlers from the British Isles contributed to the stock after about 1600, and more certainly from the 1820s and 30s.[3]

The leaner longhorn beef was not as attractive in an era where tallow was highly prized, and the longhorn's ability to survive on often poor vegetation of the open range was no longer as much of an issue. Other breeds demonstrated traits more highly valued by the modern rancher, such as the ability to put on weight quickly. The Texas longhorn stock slowly dwindled, until in 1927 the breed was saved from almost certain extinction by enthusiasts from the United States Forest Service, who collected a small herd of stock to breed on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma. A few years later, J. Frank Dobie and others gathered small herds to keep in Texas state parks. They were cared for largely as curiosities, but the stock's longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive on marginal pastures quickly revived the breed as beef stock. Today, the breed is still used as a beef stock, though many Texas ranchers keep herds purely because of their link to Texas history.

In other parts of North America this breed is used for much more. Longhorn cattle have a strong survival instinct and can find food and shelter during times of rough weather. Longhorn calves are very tough and can stand up sooner after birth than other breeds. Longhorn cattle can breed for a long time, well into their teens. There have been cows that have bred for up to thirty years. Some ranchers keep Longhorns for their easy calving. A Longhorn cow will often go off on her own to a safe place to have the calf then bring it home. They are also known to hide their calves in safe places to avoid predation, sometimes causing difficulty for ranchers, who may need to work on the animal.

Purpose

Most breeds of cattle fall into either beef or dairy. The Texas Longhorn is a beef animal and is known for its lean beef, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than most beef.[4] Texas Longhorns are also used to add hybrid vigor and easy calving when crossed with other breeds. However, they continue to represent the romance of the American Old West and are often retained for their beauty and intelligence.

The Texas longhorns show great variation in coat color
  • Tip to Tip - The length from each tip of the horn, a straight line. This is a common measurement.
  • Total Horn - The total length following the horn and always greater than the Tip to Tip
  • Base (or Poll) - The circumference of the horn at the largest point.

These measurements can be adjusted to a Horns per Month of Age (HMA) which is calculated by dividing the number of months of age into the horn measurement. For example, a 48 month old animal with 50" of horn would be 50 / 48 or 1.04" per month of age.

It is not uncommon for commercial ranchers to cross breed longhorns with other breeds, thus increasing hybrid vigor and easy calving characteristics. Smaller birth weights reduce dystocia for first-calf heifers. The breed is claimed to do well in warmer climates.

In popular culture

NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston maintains a small herd of Texas Longhorns as part of its Longhorn Project.

Notes

  1. ^ Herskovitz, John. Texas Returns to Passion of the Longhorn Reuters via Environmental News Network. November 26, 2004.
  2. ^ Certified Texas Longhorn Registry
  3. ^ The Handbook of Texas online Retrieved 2009-12-21
  4. ^ http://www.tlbaa.org/Resources/research1.html
  5. ^ History of the Official State Longhorn Herd, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, February 9, 2007.

See also

References

  • Will C. Barnes, "Wichita Forest Will Be Lair of Longhorns", The Cattleman, April 1926.
  • Dan Kilgore, "Texas Cattle Origins", The Cattleman, January 1983.
  • James Westfall Thompson, History of Livestock Raising in the United States, 1607-1860 (Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1942).
  • James Frank Dobie, The Longhorns (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1980) (ISBN 029274627X).
  • Don Worcester, The Texas Longhorn: Relic of the Past, Asset for the Future (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987) (ISBN 0890966257).
  • Premier Longhorns-Information About Texas Longhorns

External links

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The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 7 feet (2.1 m) tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows, and 36 to 80 inches (0.91 to 2.0 m) tip to tip for bulls. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist. Texas Longhorns are known for their diverse coloring. The Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and the International Texas Longhorn Association serve as the recognized registries for the breed. Texas Longhorns with elite genetics can often fetch $40,000 or more at auction with the record of $170,000 in recent history for a cow.[1] Due to their innate gentle disposition and intelligence, Texas Longhorns are increasingly being trained as riding steers.

The Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry (CTLR), is the recognized breed registry dedicated to preserving the purest Texas Longhorn bloodlines. Using visual inspection of cattle by the most knowledgeable Texas Longhorn breeders and the use of bloodtype analysis to further identify parentage, CTLR has the ideal of preserving fullblood Texas Longhorn cattle that are genetically and historically correct for posterity.[2]

Contents

History of the breed

The early Texas settlers stole Mexican cattle from the borderland between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande and mixed them with their own eastern cattle. The result was a tough, rangy animal with long legs and longhorns extending up to seven feet. Although this interbreeding was of little consequence to the makeup of a Longhorn, it did manage to alter color. The varieties of color ranged from blue; and all hues of "yellow"; browns, black, red and white. both cleanly bright and dirty-speckled.[3]

The leaner longhorn beef was not as attractive in an era where tallow was highly prized, and the longhorn's ability to survive on often poor vegetation of the open range was no longer as much of an issue. Other breeds demonstrated traits more highly valued by the modern rancher, such as the ability to put on weight quickly. The Texas longhorn stock slowly dwindled, until in 1927 the breed was saved from almost certain extinction by enthusiasts from the United States Forest Service, who collected a small herd of stock to breed on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma. A few years later, J. Frank Dobie and others gathered small herds to keep in Texas state parks. They were cared for largely as curiosities, but the stock's longevity, resistance to disease and ability to thrive on marginal pastures quickly revived the breed as beef stock. Today, the breed is still used as a beef stock, though many Texas ranchers keep herds purely because of their link to Texas history.

In other parts of North America this breed is used for much more. Longhorn cattle have a strong survival instinct and can find food and shelter during times of rough weather. Longhorn calves are very tough and can stand up sooner after birth than other breeds. Longhorn cattle can breed for a long time, well into their teens. There have been cows that have bred for up to thirty years. Some ranchers keep Longhorns for their easy calving. A Longhorn cow will often go off on her own to a safe place to have the calf then bring it home. They are also known to hide their calves in safe places to avoid predation, sometimes causing difficulty for ranchers, who may need to work on the animal.

Purpose

Most breeds of cattle fall into either beef or dairy. The Texas Longhorn is a beef animal and is known for its lean beef, which is lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than most beef.[4] Texas Longhorns are also used to add hybrid vigor and easy calving when crossed with other breeds. Moreover, they continue to represent the romance of the American Old West and are often retained for their beauty and intelligence.

  • Tip to Tip - The length from each tip of the horn, a straight line. This is a common measurement.
  • Total Horn - The total length following the horn and always greater than the Tip to Tip
  • Composite (or Base) - The circumference of the horn at the largest point.

These measurements can be adjusted to a Horns per Month of Age (HMA) which is calculated by dividing the number of months of age into the horn measurement. For example, a 48 month old animal with 50" of horn would be 50 / 48 or 1.04" per month of age.

It is not uncommon for commercial ranchers to cross breed longhorns with other breeds, thus increasing hybrid vigor and easy calving characteristics. Smaller birth weights reduce dystocia for first-calf heifers. The breed is claimed to do well in warmer climates.

In popular culture

, the mascot of The University of Texas at Austin]]

NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston maintains a small herd of Texas Longhorns as part of its Longhorn Project.

Notes

  1. ^ Herskovitz, John. Texas Returns to Passion of the Longhorn Reuters via Environmental News Network. November 26, 2004.
  2. ^ Cattleman's Texas Longhorn Registry
  3. ^ http://doublehelixranch.com/History.html
  4. ^ http://www.tlbaa.org/Resources/research1.html
  5. ^ History of the Official State Longhorn Herd, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website, February 9, 2007.

See also

Texas portal

References

  • Will C. Barnes, "Wichita Forest Will Be Lair of Longhorns", The Cattleman, April 1926.
  • Dan Kilgore, "Texas Cattle Origins", The Cattleman, January 1983.
  • James Westfall Thompson, History of Livestock Raising in the United States, 1607-1860 (Washington: U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1942).
  • James Frank Dobie, The Longhorns (Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1980) (ISBN 029274627X).
  • Don Worcester, The Texas Longhorn: Relic of the Past, Asset for the Future (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987) (ISBN 0890966257).
  • Premier Longhorns-Information About Texas Longhorns

External links


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