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Murray Grey Cattle

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Other common names: Murray Gray

The basics:
Murray Grey cattle were named after their origin (along the Murray River dividing New South Wales and Victoria in Australia) and their body color. These gray cattle were developed from crossing a roan Shorthorn cow with black Aberdeen Angus bulls. The new breed’s desirable characteristics included ease of calving, good temperament, and excellently marbled, tender beef. The Murray Gray was introduced to the United States in 1969. It remains a true beef breed (not contaminated with dairy cattle strains) and a preferred import by many countries like Japan for the high quality meat.

Appearance / health:
Murray Greys are medium sized cattle that are grayish in color with a dark skin pigment (the dark skin helps prevent certain skin problems like sunburn and cancer eye). The muzzle, area around the eyes, and teat ends are ash gray. They are polled and relatively small at birth. They have a fast growth rate and high survival rates even under harsh climatic conditions.

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:
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).

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.