An English Breed for Modern Needs
The Gloucester breed is strikingly beautiful. The body is black-brown with black head and legs. A white stripe passes down the back, continues over the tail and down over the udder, covering the belly. Mid-length, up-sweeping horns, are white tipped with black.
The cows are docile and amenable and respond well to individual care. They have a flat lactation curve, giving an even production of milk for up to 300 days. This is kind to their udders and helps their longevity, for which they are renowned, often breeding for 12 to 15 years. Gloucester cows also take well to hand-milking and make ideal house cows. Bulls merit the breed's reputation for docility. They are active and get cows in calf to a tight calving pattern.
The management of Gloucesters fits well into an extensive system. Providing the land drains well and they have some shelter and a dry bed, they will thrive if out-wintered, growing a good protective coat.
Gloucester cattle are an ancient breed, numerous in the Severn Vale as early as the 13th century. They were valued for their milk (for Double Gloucester cheese), their beef, and for providing strong draught oxen.
However in the last two centuries, the introduction of other breeds and the development of intensive farming techniques, led to a dramatic reduction in numbers so that by 1972 only one herd remained.
Fortunately at its dispersal sale, a group of buyers determined that the breed should survive. The Gloucester Cattle Society was revived and since then, cattle numbers have increased from near extinction to over 700 registered females.
Gloucester cattle are an irreplaceable part of our heritage, help us preserve them for future generations, join the Gloucester Cattle Society.