Rolling Hills Zoo is excited to welcome the birth of its first Highland calf, born in the early morning hours of August 1st. Mother, Freya, and her male calf are doing well and spending the day bonding under the shade trees in their yard.
The calf, yet to be named, is healthy, curious and brave as he ventures away from mother to check things out. Freya will allow him to get close to her keepers, but if she perceives anything as new or dangerous, she calls to him and he will come running back to her.
Unlike his mother, whose coat is red, the calf’s coat is silver like his father’s, one of the rarest colorations of the Highland cattle. His birth weight is still unknown as the keepers do not want to cause any additional stress to the calf or mother in the extreme heat. While Freya is dealing well with heat, the keepers are giving her some extra TLC and keeping her cool with ice blocks and misters.
Now 5 years old, Freya was pregnant when she arrived at Rolling Hills Zoo from a farm in Missouri. Freya has given birth twice before.
A descendant of the native cattle of Scotland, the Highland breed is best known for its survival qualities, hardiness, maternal abilities, reproductive efficiency and longevity. Highlands are medium in size, with cows weighing 900 to 1,300 pounds and bulls 1,500 to 2,000 pounds. They have long, shaggy coats that are most commonly light red, but many other solid colors are also seen. The horns of the Highland cows sweep out and up, while those of the bulls are horizontal with upturned tips.
With their dramatic shaggy coats and long horns, they're instant conversation starters for agritourism operations. Not only has this breed become an international resource for beef production in marginal landscapes, but they also play a crucial role in conservation grazing, contributing to effective range management across the globe.
The public is invited to come and see the zoo’s newest addition, but are asked to keep their voices low, as not to frighten the cow or calf. The Highland cow habitat is located north of the Nature Playground.