Santa Barbara, California
Texas, United States
Other name(s): Insanga; Inyambo; Inkuku
Scientific name: Bos indicus
Country / Place of origin: Africa
History: Often referred to as the “Cattle of Kings”, the Ankole-Watusi breed originated in Africa with records indicating that they have been integral to the lives of various African tribes for thousands of years. Most associated with the Tutsi tribe of Ruwanda, the Ankole-Watusi cattle provided status (the King had the ones with the longest and largest horns, which were also considered sacred), was used as currency, and served as a source of food. The Ankole-Watusi breed was introduced to the United States in the 1960s. The breed’s international registry was formed in Colorado in 1983. Breeders were interested in preserving the breed, others for using the Ankole for developing crossbred roping animals, and others for the low-fat and low-cholesterol meat quality of the cattle. The digestive system of the Ankole-Watusi has adapted to harsh and sparse habitats, making them thrive not only in Africa but other areas like Europe, North and South America, and Australia.
Current Uses: Meat, milk.
Appearance: Ankole-Watusi cattle are medium sized animals noted for horns. The best horns are large, long, and symmetrical and lyre-shaped or circular. These horns serve as radiators – honeycombed with blood vessels that optimize circulation and cooling of body heat. The body color can be solid, spotted, or speckled, typically dark red, although black and light brown are also common.
Average weight: 1000 - 1500 lbs.
Lifespan: 20 - 25 years
Grooming: Cows normally groom each other by licking the head, neck and back; they also rub against posts and other structures a few times a day. Additional, regular grooming, however, contributes to their overall health and productivity.The cow’s hooves should be trimmed regularly, which is best done by professionals. Their hair can be shampooed, conditioned, blow-dried, brushed, trimmed, and clipped as necessary to keep the cows clean and looking smart, especially if they are being shown. Some cattle owners enhance their barns by installing automatic motorized brushes that rotate when the cow leans against it, helping with the scratching and grooming.
Diet: A good quality pasture for grazing is the basic dietary requirement of cattle. The recommended pasture size per cow is 10 acres, without which, the diet should be supplemented with hay. The recommended quantity of hay is an average of 2% of the animal’s body weight per day (or 2 lbs. of hay per 100 lbs. of body weight). Supplements include grain mixes, protein and mineral cubes, and salt blocks, depending on the type of cow, its uses, and the local climate.Providing a constant supply of fresh water is essential. An adult cow consumes an estimate of up to 20 gallons of water per day.
Housing: Housing for cattle is essentially to give them shelter from extreme weather conditions. Barns, rub-in sheds, stalls, and other structures like windbreaks, should be available where the cows graze. Aside from manmade shelters, trees and tall bushes can provide resting places for cattle to minimize heat stroke or wind chill.Shelters will give the cows the option to seek safe haven from strong winds, extreme heat or cold, and heavy rains. Shelters should be strong, stable, spacious, well ventilated, and waterproof. Barns should be provided with water supply, and stalls should be lined with hay. They should also be cleaned regularly. Sprinklers and other cooling systems are recommended for areas that overheat during summer months. Professional and humane fencing should be provided. All poisonous plants should be removed from the pasture; and hay should always be kept dry (wet hay grows molds, becoming a health hazard for cows).
Health issues: Like other livestock, cattle require regular vaccinations and inoculations (for example, rabies inoculations) for disease prevention and health management. Similar to other mammals, cows can suffer a variety of ailments and health issues. A veterinarian should be on call and provide regular checkups and monitoring for the entire herd.
Behavior / Temperament / Activity level: Cattle are docile animals that have strong maternal instincts. They are big and bulky, and could, therefore, inflict harm without intending to. Handling and brushing them constantly while juvenile will help train them to be calm and trusting around humans, which is helpful especially when they need to be attended to by the veterinarian or groomer.
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