How now Brown Cow
For many years, this was the predominant breed on Menorca, with a clear tendency towards the production of milk and cheese. Today, however, just like other breeds on the islands, Menorcan cattle accounts for a small number of heads, even though efforts are underway to bring it back.
It is a rustic race, strong and calm, with a heavy maternal instinct. Medium-sized with elongated proportions, the animals are mainly shorn and reddish coloured – with variations in shades that range from light blond to dark red.
The head is relatively short in profile and hornless, with a noticeable tuft on its forehead. Its muzzle is wide, its eyes oblique, and its ears large; the neck is medium-length and slightly muscular. The body is deep, the belly wide and the hindquarters are angular with a highly-placed tail. The hooves are wide and strong. The coat is short and fine, and the skin is thick with rosy mucous membranes, although slate colour is also acceptable in females. The average weight of adult cows is around 500 kilograms.
The Menorcan cow has its own Breeders’ Association and genealogical book. It is one of the European races whose genetics has been studied the most, and it rank highly in terms of its capacity to produce k-casein (a milk protein used to make a variety of dairy products). Yet despite its aptitude for cheese production, today its main product is meat. However, some estates still craft the outstanding cheese made with Menorcan cow milk, which is sold in small shops and enjoys well-deserved fame because of both its characteristic flavour and its high quality.
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