Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016 - Black Angus

It’s rather difficult to miss Black Angus cattle in the snow as they have a habit of standing out against the stark white background.  In the summer, they’re not nearly as impressive-looking as they are in the winter.  Fresh snow was falling when this photo was taken, but the cows didn’t seem to mind at all and it emphasized their deep black color even more.

Black Angus attempting to hide in the snow.

In the rest of the world, they’re known as Aberdeen Angus and are native to Scotland.  There are records of them there all the way back to the 1500’s, and those are written records, which means that they’re most likely considerably older than that.  Black Angus are a very muscled cattle with much marbling in the meat, which makes them highly prized in many countries, especially Japan.  They’re very efficient at turning pasture into body weight as opposed to many other breeds.

Because Black Angus can survive Scottish winters, it only makes sense that they are good cattle for Maine.  Hothouse-flower cattle generally will not do well here.  Animals in Maine have got a very difficult winter to endure, and they have to be able to handle the cold and the storms.  Like the Highland Cattle, also from Scotland and my personal favorite, the Black Angus is right at home in our tough winters.  Unlike the Highland Cattle with their exotic-looking horns, the Black Angus are polled (hornless).

I like going for meandering drives in the countryside, regardless of the weather.  In summer, there are so many cows, horses, and other animals to see.  But in winter, many of them are hiding.  That’s when the Black Angus comes out and really becomes the star of the show.  Their coloring is a very deep black, and they make the icy white landscape of Maine come to life like no other animal can.  People may prize them for their meat, but I love them for their complementary beauty in the snow.

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