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Pinzgauer Cattle

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Other common names: Pinzgau; Jocherg Hummel

The basics:
Pinzgauer cattle derived its name from the Pinzgau district of Salzburg, Austria where the breed is first recorded in the 1600s. For many years before, the Alpine herdsmen had bred red and white cattle from the native Bavarian herds to produce animals that could produce good meat and sufficient milk despite the harsh conditions of the terrain and climate.

In the 1800s, the Pinzgauer was exported to regions of Russia and South Africa. They were introduced to Canada and the United States in the 1970s, and continue to be bred under rigid registry standards.

Appearance / health:
Pinzgauers are chestnut red brown in color with white markings on the back, tail, and underside. The pigmented skin helps protect the animal from sunburn and other skin ailments, and the eyes from harmful UV rays that cause cancer eye. The skin is thick and pliable, and the hair is smooth, which help protect the animal from insects and ticks. The hooves are hard, closed, and dark. The legs are strong, an adaptation to traversing rough mountainous terrain. Pinzgauers are naturally horned, although some are born polled.

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.