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Longhorns, also called Texas longhorns, are descended from Spanish criollo cattle. Christopher Columbus sailed into Santa Domingo Mexico with a load of these Spanish cattle in 1493. Over the next 200 years the descendents of these Spanish cattle were widespread over the ranges of Mexico. In 1690 the first herd of 200 Spanish cattle were driven north into what is now Texas. There the crillio stock mixed with the English breeds the early frontiersmen had brought and the Texas Longhorn was born.
Cattlemen recognize the qualities of longhorns and often crossbreed the longhorns with other beef breeds. This leads to easy calving, less disease, and larger bodied offspring. Longhorns are recognized for their lean meat and therefore longhorn beef commands a high price in the market. Most longhorns seen in pastures throughout the United States today are crossbreeds of the original longhorn. With exhibitional populations of pure breed longhorns in National Parks across the nation and private farmers taking interest, the future of the longhorn seems secure.
A longhorn can be any color or mix of colors but dark red and white color mixes are the most dominate.
The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 7 feet (2.1 m) tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows, and 36 to 80 inches (0.91 to 2.0 m) tip to tip for bulls. Horns can have a slight upward turn at their tips or even triple twist.
These measurements can be adjusted to a Horns per Month of Age (HMA) which is calculated by dividing the number of months of age into the horn measurement. For example, a 48 month old animal with 50" of horn would be 50 / 48 or 1.04" per month of age.
Lean Beef: Texas longhorn beef is leaner and has less cholesterol than boneless, skinless chicken breast with more necessary amino acids and nutrients. (Texas A&M, 1987)
Disease Resistance: Longhorns are more resistant to common cattle diseases such as pink eye and foot rot.
Pasture Utilization: Longhorn cattle will eat a greater variety of plants and grasses than other beef cattle. Longhorns will actually browse trees and shrubs similar to deer. Therefore longhorns will make more use of the available plant matter to convert to body weight and reduce the need for feed to be supplied to them.
Longevity: Longhorns have incredibly long productive life spans. Many live past 20 years of age with some producing past age 25 or 30.
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