Texon Cattle

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Other common names: Devon Cattle x Texas Longhorn Cattle Cross

The basics:
Texon Cattle are a new beef cattle breed created in the 1990's in the United States. According to the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, "The Texon is a composite breed evolving from a blend of the genetics of the historic Texas Longhorn and the ancient Devon. The breeding objective is to combine the desirable unique traits of these historically old breeds into a new breed that is better adapted to specific environmental and economic conditions. The Texon is being genetically engineered to combine the grass utilization of the Devon with the browsing ability of the Texas Longhorn and the marbling of the Devon with the leanness and favorable unsaturated fatty acids of Texas Longhorn beef. Traits common to both breeds include: high fertility, calving ease, climatic adaptation, and longevity. It is hoped to add a bit of disease and parasite resistance from the Texas Longhorn and good milk production of the Devon."

According to the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, "The Devon, sometimes called North Devon, to distinguish it from South Devon Cattle, is one of the oldest beef breeds in existence today. In fact some authorities consider the Devon's origin to be prehistoric, the assumption being that the breed descended directly from Bos lonqifrons, the smaller type of aboriginal cattle in Britain. The native home of the Devon is in southwestern England, primarily in the counties of Devon, Somerset, Cornwall, and Dorset."

The Texas Longhorn is said to be a descendant of the early Spanish cattle brought in by settlers. Wild herds in Texas combined Spanish, European, and Oxen breeds and were left to interbreed and undergo survival of the fittest for many years. By the 1930s, the Texas Longhorn can be traced to seven purebred “families” with different characteristics. The Texas Longhorn is also favored for its hardiness on lean pastures and hot climates, easy birthing, lean meat, high fertility, docile temperament and nostalgic link to American history.

Appearance / health:
According to the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University, "The purebred Texon is visualized as a red, polled, docile animal with a short, sleek summer hair coat. The Texon will be medium in mature size (cows 900 to 1100 pounds) and will have dense, clean-cut, flat, medium-sized bone. It will possess a strong muscle pattern, exhibit trimness of middle, and have adequate length of leg to cover pastures and rangeland. Conformation will evolve from selection for "beef where beef counts."

"Texon females will exhibit distinct femininity and will possess substantial vulva development and well-developed udders that have strong suspensory ligaments and well-spaced teats of a size that calves have no difficulty in suckling."

"Texon bulls will exhibit robust, pronounced masculinity and aggressive libido, trim sheaths, and well-developed testicles. An alert (but not ill-tempered or vicious) disposition will be characteristic."

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.

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