Piedmontese Cattle

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Other common names: Razza bovina Piemontese

The basics:
Piedmontese Cattle were developed in the region of Piedmont in northwest Italy. The first herd-book was opened in 1877. The first Piedmontese in North America arrived in the fall of 1979 by the PBL Co-operative of Saskatchewan, Canada. Piedmontese Cattle are known for their sculpted, heavily muscled appearance, which is known as "double muscling". This is a trait shared by the Belgian Blue Cattle.

The Piedmontese breed carries a unique gene for inactive myostatin, which increases muscularity, and also reduces the fat content while improving tenderness in the beef. This low fat beef is also lower in calories, higher in protein and contains a higher percentage of the good Omega 3 Fatty Acids. The full-blood population is considered homozygous for this in-active myostatin gene. The beef from Piedmontese and Piedmontese-cross cattle is consistent for these qualities of leanness and tenderness because it is a genetic influence rather than an environmental effect.

Naturalean Piedmontese are the result of crossing with other breeds, while bringing forward the Myostatin gene. There are solid red, solid black, and polled Naturalean cattle.

Appearance / health:
Piedmontese calves are born a fawn color, and the cattle turns gray-white as it matures.

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 man-made 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.

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