Weird Cow Breeds: South Devon Cattle


Known as “the Gentle Giant”, the South Devon’s docility enables it to be easily handled and managed.

Weird Cow Breeds: South Devon Cattle

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  • 10 days ago

Known as “the Gentle Giant”, the South Devon’s docility enables it to be easily handled and managed.

A native British cattle breed, originating in South West England, the South Devon is well known for its maternal and beef qualities. It is ideally placed in the modern purebred or commercial suckler herd, whether intensive, extensive, or organic.

Its attributes lend themselves well to crossing with other native and continental breeds to suit individual producers’ specific requirements.

Known as “the Gentle Giant”, the South Devon’s docility enables it to be easily handled and managed.

The cattle grow quickly on an early diet of rich milk and have an excellent feed conversion ratio.

Beef produced by the British breed is marbled and tender and is considered of premium quality.

Bulls are early-maturing and can be used at around 15-18 months of age. In the non-pedigree herd, the South Devon bull is used to produce a crossbred suckler cow, or as a terminal sire.

As a terminal sire, meat quality, kill- out percentage and carcase classification are improved, as well as greater marbling, tenderness and taste. It can, therefore, complement the attributes of other particular breeds.

Early maturity is of significance to those interested in high output systems and rapid genetic improvement.

Calving is not usually a problem but does depend on the usual factors: the size and condition of the dam and the choice of bull.

As a breed with strong origins in the dairy industry, the dam is very milky, and her calf grows on well and suckles easily.

Twins are reported to occur in approximately 10% of calvings.

Breed characteristics:

  • Docile temperament giving easy management;
  • Milky dams with excellent mothering qualities;
  • Longevity;
  • Fast growth and early maturity;
  • Excellent grass conversion ability;
  • Hardiness and adaptability;
  • Good modern conformation with length & width;
  • Curly coat of light-medium red colour.
Photo credit: A&C Farms

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