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The Ultimate Guide to Mini Highland Cows! [Size, Feed, and Cost!]

Mini Highland cows are some of our favorite homestead companions! When most people think of Highland cows, they think of the unkempt (and massive) creatures often used as tourist attractions or featured in commercials. However, we know about a smaller version of this Scottish cow gaining popularity – miniature Highland cattle!

As their name suggests, these cows are much smaller than their traditional counterparts. And they make great pets or dairy animals for small-scale farmers. 

We’re about to analyze these magnificently mini cattle creatures in detail!

Sound good?

Let’s continue!

The Ultimate Guide to the Mini Highland Cow

If you’re considering adding a mini Highland cow to your farm or homestead, read on for everything you need to know about this exquisite breed of cattle.

adorable mini highland cows foraging on california farm
Mini Highland cows come from the hardy Scottish Highland cattle breed. Highland cattle is one of the oldest – if not the oldest cattle breed around. The first Highland cattle herd dates way back to 1884! Highland cattle get favored among rural ranchers due to their reputations for being adaptable, rugged, and easy to raise.

Are Mini Highland Cows Good for Anything? 

Yes. Absolutely! The mini Highland cow is a friendly and docile cattle breed from the Scottish Highlands. These cows are smaller than their full-grown counterparts, making them easier to care for and handle.

Mini Highland cows are also known for their thick fur coats, which protect them from the cold weather in their native homeland. In recent years, mini Highland cows have become increasingly popular as pets and working animals due to their easygoing nature and gentle dispositions. 

Storey's Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock | Sue Weaver

If you're new to mini Highland cows and other mini farm animals - here's one of our favorite resources from Storey and Sue Weaver. It's Storey's Guide to Raising Mini Livestock! The book covers more than just tiny cows. It also talks about miniature goats, donkeys, pigs, sheep, llamas, and horses.

If you have a small homestead and want the advantages of miniature cattle without having dozens of acres, then it's an excellent resource. The book contains 465 pages! Some reviewers cite how the book isn't advanced enough for their taste. So - the book is best if you're new to miniature farm animals.

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09/27/2022 08:49 am GMT

How Big Do Mini Highland Cows Get?

Miniature Highland cattle typically weigh between 500 and 600 pounds – or 227 to 272 kg. They are also relatively short, with a typical adult height of 36 to 42 inches (91 to 107 cm). The bulls are generally slightly larger than the cows.

Although they are much smaller than their full-size cousins, miniature Highland cattle still possess many similarly distinctive features, including long curved horns, shaggy coats, and wavy eyelashes. Miniature Highland cows make excellent pets – due partly to their docile nature and compact size.

miniature highland cow foraging in carmel california
Here’s a beautiful mini Highland cow specimen! Here you see the mini cow browsing in a field. Highland cows come from the rugged Scottish Highlands. They’re famous for getting by without the best grazing conditions. As a result – they’re excellent foragers! They have reputations for eating other forage crops that most other cows overlook. And we love their woolly coats!

Are Miniature Highland Cows Friendly?

Yes. Absolutely! If you’re looking for a friendly pet, you might want to consider a miniature Highland cow. These cows are known for their sweet dispositions and love of being around people. And they look like giant teddy bears. Ultra fuzzy teddy bears!

They are markedly curious creatures, so they’ll often follow you around and try to investigate anything that catches their eye. Highland cows are also relatively easy to care for and raise. They even make excellent lawnmowers! Many people get mini cows specifically for this purpose.

Read More – Raising Mini LaMancha Goats!

How Much Does a Highland Cow Eat Per Day?

Cows usually eat around 2% of their body weight daily. A full-grown miniature Highland cow weighs approximately 500 pounds. So – expect your mini Highland cow to eat roughly 10 pounds of hay daily. (500 pounds * .02 = 10 pounds.)

This number is just an estimate! Your mini Highland cow could certainly eat more than 10 pounds per day. But, we’d be surprised if the total amount exceeded 20 pounds of hay daily.

This amount may seem like a lot for such a little fellow! But it’s far less than what many other types of cattle consume. For example, Angus cattle can eat up to 35 pounds of hay daily. And we’ve heard of some hungry Holstein cows eating as much as 50 pounds of hay!

Of course, the amount a miniature Highland cow eats will also depend on factors such as age, weight, and activity level. Younger cows tend to eat more than older cows, and cows used for breeding or milking need more food than those kept as pets. 

cute highland cows on farm in anderen netherlands
Highland cattle originate from Scotland. But – they’re popular in different parts of the world, including Australia, Europe, the USA, and beyond. See this adorable Mini Highland cow from Anderen, Netherlands, as an example. It looks like the tiny pack was grazing on farmland. But – the photographer caught their attention. For a few moments, at least! (You can’t keep a mini Highland cow from their lunch for long.)

How Much Land Does a Mini Highland Cow Need?

A mini Highland cow can live comfortably on as little as one acre of pasture. Most reliable cattle-raising sources agree that you require two acres of forage space per cow. But, mini Highland cows are half the size of regular cattle. Sometimes, even smaller! 

So – one acre per mini Highland cow should be sufficient – as long as you have decent forage crops. (We also advise supplementing your mini Highland cattle’s diet during the winter!)

Highlands are known for their hardiness and ability to thrive in challenging conditions. They’re also relatively low-maintenance, which makes them a good choice for those who want to raise livestock without taking on too much work. 

mini scottish highland cows wrestling with horns
These two Highland cattle from Carmel-by-the-Sea are temporarily locking horns! But not to worry. The mini Highland cows aren’t fighting – but merely roughhousing. They have reputations as docile and friendly creatures. You’re more likely to see a mini Highland using its horns to clear forage than brawl with its herd mates. You’ll probably find that mini Highland cows get along without fuss.

Can Mini Highland Cows Live Alone? 

Mini highland cows are social creatures that enjoy the company of other miniature bovines! When they get kept alone, they can become stressed and even depressed. Isolating mini Highland cows can also lead to health problems such as poor appetite and weight loss. 

Therefore, mini highland cows should always have at least one other mini highland cow for companionship. While they can get along with other animals, such as sheep or goats, mini highland cows do best when they are with a herd.

Read More – How Long Do Cows Live? Beef and Dairy 101!

How Fast Do Highland Cows Grow? 

We’ve noticed that Highland cows are slow-growing. Their slow growth means they take longer to reach full size than other breeds. However, once reaching adulthood, they are larger than most other cattle breeds. 

Adult Highland cows (not the miniature versions) typically weigh between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds. The average bull can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. While the exact growth rate varies depending on the individual cow, most Highland cows will reach full size by four or five years old.

After that point, they will continue to put on weight until they reach their peak at around seven or eight years old. Thanks to their slow growth rate and hearty appetites, Highland cows have a reputation for being very efficient grazers. 

adorable miniature highland calf resting on straw
Here’s another reason we love mini Highland cattle. They’re so cute! Look at this adorable mini Highland calf! It’s resting atop a thick layer of straw in a cozy rural barn. I think it’s hungry! Or maybe, it’s waiting to join the herd and browse for some yummy forage crops! (We haven’t seen a farm animal this cute since we wrote about the best sheep with black faces.)

What Age Do Highland Cows Grow Horns?

While male and female Highland cows have horns, they don’t start growing them until they reach adulthood. Most Highland cows don’t start growing their horns until they’re between one and two years old. 

Once their horns start to grow, they’ll continue to grow throughout the cow’s life – typically reaching full size after about five years. Highland cows can live to be 15 or even 20 years old! That means their horns can keep growing for a significant portion of their lives.

shaggy and cute miniature highland calves on straw
Here’s another adorable miniature Highland calf! We think it just woke up for a nap. Now it wants breakfast! Luckily – Highland cattle aren’t fussy eaters. But – what do cows eat? Well – Highland minis aren’t like other cows. They love munching on a wide variety of forage crops other than grass. (We also think this Highland mini calf resembles an Ewok!)

How Long Does a Mini Highland Cow Live?

In general, miniature Highland cattle have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, some mini Highland cows purportedly live up to 20 years, while others may only live for ten years or less. Factors that affect a miniature Highland cow’s lifespan include diet, genetics, and environment.

For example, cows that are well-fed and living in a clean and spacious environment are likely to live longer than those that are neglected or living in cramped conditions. 

How Much Does a Highland Cow Cost?

These gentle giant cows fetch a premium cost! Mini Highland cattle prices range from $1,000 to $4,000. The cost depends on factors such as the age and gender of the cow, as well as the breeder. For example, a calf is typically less expensive than an adult cow. Similarly, a female cow will generally be more expensive than a male cow. 

Read More – How Fast Can Cows Run? The Answer Might Surprise You!

ultimate guide to mini highland cows
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Miniature Highland cows are becoming increasingly popular on small farms and homesteads across the country. And worldwide! They’re versatile animals that can provide milk, meat, or fiber. And they’re a great way to teach kids about agriculture and animal husbandry. 

But – if you’re interested in adding miniature Highland cattle to your farm, conduct your research first! Make sure you have enough space for them to roam and consider their needs before making a final decision. 

What about you? Have you ever considered raising miniature Highland cattle?

Or – maybe there’s another miniature cattle breed you love more than Highlands?

Let us know your thoughts!

And – thanks so much for reading.

Have a great day!


  • Rebekah Pierce started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, near her native Adirondack Mountains. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in special education, she has been writing professionally since 2017, but only recently left the world of teaching to pursue writing and farming full time. She now writes full-time in the education, business, finance, and of course, homesteading and farming niches.