Scottish Pride Highland cattle bring ribbons for Carbon couple on fair circuit
Dwight Eisenhauer shows off prize-winning Raquel at Bull Run Farm in Lehighton. KELLEY ANDRADE/TIMES NEWS
Now that the fair season is wrapping up, the Highland cattle of Bull Run Farm in Lehighton can kick their hooves up and just enjoy the leisure life.
Even with the days shortening and the weather getting cooler the prize winning herbivores are at ease in their double-layered fur coats.
Highland cattle originate from Scotland and are one of the oldest breeds in the world.
According to Dwight and Marianne Eisenhauer, owners of Bull Run Farm, the cattle are incredibly low maintenance. “They are easy to keep, a couple trees, some shade and they’re happy,” Dwight said.
Highlands are known for being docile, making them very easy to travel and show at all the fairs, “they do all have different personalities though,” Marianne said.
One of the biggest advantages to raising this breed is their incredible adaptability to all climates. The extra layer of long fur helps to keep the animals warm and lean. “The meat is very lean and lower in cholesterol. They have so much hair that they don’t have a lot of back fat.”
Mostly the cattle enjoy the grass of the 45-plus acre farm, but the show stars get to split a bucket of grain on fair days. The Eisenhauers own roughly 35 Highlands along with heifers, a few peacocks, chickens, a couple of Labradors and their newest additions, pigs.
The Eisenhauers bought their first Highland in 2005.
“I bought the farm in 2005, put up the fences and then found the cows,” Dwight said. He discovered the breed when he attended a show with his daughter. “We went to the shows to learn and met really nice people. That’s how we go into it,” he said.
The breeds’ disposition made it easy to get the farm up and running. “Their temperament is so good, a lot of people go into it after they retire,” he said.
Of course the cows are herd animals and stick close together.
“Highlands make good mothers, they take very good care of their calves.”
Highlands can actually give birth well into their teen years, which is unheard of in other cattle breeds. Highlands’ life spans are a bit longer than other cows, living well into the double digit age. “They usually lose their teeth around 20 ,and that’s what does them in.”
This helps add to the valued low-maintenance quality of the heritage breed.
The Eisenhauers’ trophy room is extensive, filled with ribbons of all colors, sizes and dates that line the walls of a spare room. The Highland mother Raquel and calf Dalwhinnie duo showed at this year’s Carbon County Fair and took the Grand Championship title at the New York State Fair. Before their time in the spotlight, the cows are treated to a wash and blow-out.
“Some people use shampoo. I’ve just been using Dawn dish detergent, but I think I’m going to switch for next year,” Marianne said.
The cattle can weigh close to 2,000 pounds. The largest cow on the farm comes in at about 1,800 pounds including horns.
“All breeds get horns. The females’ horns are shaped differently; they tend do go up more, whereas the males’ horns come out to the side.”
The Eisenhauers were one of the few farms to deal in Highlands, but the popularity of the gentle breed is growing and sales are up. “Buyers like knowing where the cows come from and that they are raised well. It’s important to the younger generation especially,” Marianne said.
The breed is also starting to be mixed with the more standard breeds to great success.
“You get the best of both worlds, I think,” Dwight said.
Bull Run Farm will send their best representative bovines into the show ring again next fair season, which will include a 36-hour drive to Denver.
“We take turns sleeping and drive straight through. It’s better for the cows that way.”
When asked if the cows enjoy the show the couple both agree the cows love it. “It doesn’t take any effort to get them in the trailer. They like the attention,” Mairianne said as the cows gathered around the fence for a closeup with the camera. Clearly these Highlands love the limelight.