Pennsylvania, United States
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Other name(s): British White Cattle; American White Park Cattle;
American British White Park Cattle
Scientific name: Bos taurus
Country / Place of origin: United Kingdom
History: British White Cattle are a hardy, gentle, polled (hornless) breed which have a long history in Britain. The breed is believed to have originated in Lancashire, perhaps as early as the 13th century. In 1919 the first British White Park Registry Association was formed, which encompassed both horned and polled examples of the breed. In 1946 the group split and the polled white "Park Cattle" animal became formally known as a "British White", and the British White Cattle Society in the UK was established.By the early 20th century these cattle had declined to about 130 registered animals, mainly in the eastern counties of England. By the end of the 20th century numbers had grown to over 1,500 registered animals in the UK and perhaps 2,500 in the US, as well as many in other parts of the world such as Australia. In 1999, the American British White Park Association was formed. British White Cattle and American White Park Cattle are very similar, and may actually be the same breed. According to the Oklahoma State University, "The American White Park is a large white breed with black or red points (ears, nose and eyes). Today, American White Parks are promoted and selected as a beef breed. The breed's origin, however, is not clear. Some think it is largely descended from the British White Cattle, a hornless, dual purpose breed from the eastern countries of England." "Regardless of the origin of the breed the American White Park should not be confused with the ancient White Park Cattle of Britain. In genetic marker tests the White Park has been found to be a very distinct breed from either the American White Park or the British White breed so any contribution they may have made to these breeds has been greatly diluted by the introduction of other breeds."
Current Uses: The British White was considered a dual-purpose animal, producing both beef and milk, until the 1950's. Today it is mostly used for beef production. Beef animals are normally reared wholly or mainly on grass pasture. The dual-purpose heritage means that many of the cows are good milk producers, allowing their calves to grow very well.
Appearance: The British White has shortish white fur, and has dark points – usually black, but sometimes red. The colored points include the ears, feet, eyelids, nose and often even teats. It is naturally polled (hornless), medium-sized and compactly built. There may be some colored spots on the body fur, and the skin beneath the fur is usually colored (gray or reddish), or pink with colored spots. The White Park cattle breed is very similar to the British White, being white with black or red points, but with white, dark-tipped horns.
Average weight: 1000 - 2300 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: The breed is hardy and thrifty, and the animals readily graze rough vegetation such as rushes, nettles or heather, and they keenly browse many trees and shrubs. They rarely have calving difficulties.
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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