Chillingham Wild Cattle

Chillinghams eating hay

Key Characteristics

Their behaviour is that of a wild herd with little intervention from man. The various bulls fight amongst themselves to establish a hierarchy for the right to mate. Females are fiercely protective of their calves. 

History

  • The Chillingham herd is a unique herd of feral animals situated in Chillingham Park in Northumbria.
  • The Chillingham herd is thought to have been enclosed in Chillingham Park in the 13th century. It has certainly been free of all outside influence at least since the mid-1700s. The White Park breed is completely separate, but it did receive some admixture from Chillingham about 100 years ago.
  • The herd has always been small and to safeguard the breed against future disaster a reserve herd has been set up at a secret location in Scotland. 

Appearance

  • Cattle look like more primitive and angular White Parks.
  • They are white and usually have black around their nose, eyes, ears and hooves.
  • They have impressive horns, similar to those of the White Parks. 

Uses

Conservation Grazing

The Chillingham Wild Cattle are used to graze the Chillingham Park in Northumberland. They have been there for at least 800 years and so are an important part of the ecosystem. Without their grazing, the parkland would eventually revert to woodland. 

Did you know?

Chillingham Cattle have very impressive horns. In other managed breeds, only a few males are kept for breeding. However because the Chillingham cattle are left to be wild, there are a large number of bulls and they have to compete to get to mate with the females. Their large horns are used as weapons.

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.

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