Other common names: British White Cattle; American White Park Cattle; American British White Park Cattle
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.
Appearance / health:
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.
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:
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.
Housing / diet:
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.
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.
good conversion rates.Calves, placid animals, good crossing breed, great meat, British White genetics
small gene pool
polled, white coats, lesserknown British breed, minority breed, scale beef producers
Working with British White Cattle
A few years ago, I worked on a farm with six British White cows. They were gentle souls and were very tolerant of humans. With their mostly white coats and random few dark spots, the British Whites look wonderful out in a green pasture, like cows in a storybook.
These cattle did not require a great deal of maintenance, except that my boss, the farmer had some difficulty keeping them grass fed all year round. He had to provide them with organic hay and feed in the winter. He was marketing the beef produced from these cows as organic and was proud of the meat's quality. While I am not a big meat eater, I did learn from our customers at the farmer's market that the beef was quite good.
Three cows calved successfully while I worked there, and they were great mothers. Another cow delivered a stillborn calf, however. She stood out in the pasture mooing mournfully over the body of her dead calf until we were able to distract her away enough to remove it. This incident really made an impression on me just how much the cows of this breed have such a strong attachment to their calves.
I think that this breed is not widely known, but farmers who have an interest in raising docile cattle that produce good meat may be well served to research the British Whites further..
From lwwilson Dec 1 2012 7:40PM
British White traits
Whether rearing pedigree or crossbred calves, the British White female excels as a mother. She will calve easily and give plenty of milk, even raising her output as the calf grows.
Polled for ease of management, British Whites will thrive on almost all types of land and can be easily out-wintered due to their hardiness and good conversion rates.
Calves are always quickly up after birth, will grow fast and wean heavily, typically at around 50% of the mother’s weight. This means that when it comes to fattening and finishing, British White offspring have as good a start as possible with low inputs and high returns.
With the ability to finish either on a completely extensive, grass-fed system at 24-26 months, or on a more intensive, corn and forage fed system at 14-16 months, the British White is incredibly versatile for both small and large scale beef producers to whom lowering costs and maintaining good feed conversion is key.
It is this versatility which has seen this once lesser-known British breed to become popular worldwide, with Associations now well established in both the USA and Australia. Other countries all over the world are also getting started with using British White genetics in both pure and crossbreeding programmes, such as Brazil and New Zealand.
The British White has a lot to offer stock keepers who want to breed with a low input, high output animal with exceptional quality, marbled beef.
The official website for the British White Cattle Society in the UK is:
From BWCS Dec 5 2012 8:09AM