Land & Natural Resources
Ancient White Park Cattle
The mists of antiquity likely will hide the true origins of Ancient White Park cattle forever. There are very early mentions of white cattle in early Irish sagas including the Cattle Raid of Cooley and it may be that ancestors of our White Parks were the sacred cattle used in Celtic and Roman rituals. The wild white cattle added "park" to their name when the great estates were fenced (“emparked”) in the 13th and 14th centuries.
While there are stories of small importations of White Park cattle into North America dating back to the early 1900s, the B Bar herd is believed to be descended from a group imported from England just prior to the outbreak of World War II. The cattle (exported to protect them from possible Nazi invasion) were originally sent to the Toronto Zoo and subsequently to the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo determined that keeping cattle was not a long-term project for them and contacted the King Ranch in Texas to provide a home for the cattle. They resided at the King Ranch from the early 1940s until 1981, when they were sold to the Moeckly family in Polk City, Iowa. In 1985 the Moecklys imported a bull, Cadzow Ernest, from Scotland. In the late 1980s a few heifers were sold to Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa and a single heifer was sold to Joywind Farm in Maramora, Ontario. In 1989 B Bar Ranch purchased the remaining females and Cadzow Ernest from the King Ranch.
Ancient White Parks have white coats with colored points (ears, feet and muzzles) that are usually black but occasionally red. Some of the cattle are mottled or solid black, expressing a recessive gene for color that runs through the population. The cows frequently have upswept lyre-shaped horns that continue to twist as the animal’s age. The bulls typically have shorter horns that curve forward with age in a flat arc. The cows are quite tall and very angular (resembling Texas Longhorns in body shape) with mature weights that range from 1000 to 1200 pounds. The bulls reach mature weights of 1500 to 1800 pounds. They are extremely active and alert cattle with large flight zones that require careful handling. They are aggressive grazers and calve with exceptional ease.
We have grown our herd to a size that now allows for the establishment of new herds throughout North America. Through the Ancient White Park Cattle Society of North America we are maintaining the registration of offspring and producing herd books at regular intervals in addition to the registrations maintained with the White Park Cattle Society in Britain. If you are interested in helping to insure the future of this magnificent, ancient breed, please contact us by email or phone.
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