Louis Irwin of Clayton

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Louis Irwin of Clayton

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By Mary Cook–20 Oct 1976, Wed  •  Page 2

If Scottish Highland beef is good enough for the Queen’s table, it’s good enough for Louis Irwin of Clayton. He went into the business of raising “the beef of royalty” about five years ago and now his herd numbers more than 70. The Irwins are accustomed to passers-by slamming on their brakes when they pass the farm pastures, because the animals resemble something between a buffalo and a long haired sheepdog. They are covered with a profusion of long and gracefully waved hair, which will grow up to 13 inches.

The cattle are various shades of brown, but the breed also comes in black, brindle and red. At first glance it’s hard to believe the animals are cows. The long hair gives them a primitive look and they are short-legged, long-bodied and with horns that grow sweeping out from the head with a back curve making them look ferocious and wild. Superior meat However, Mr. Irwin says, they are a docile, contented animal, which is partly the reason for the excellent quality of beef they provide. The animals live outdoors all year, another reason the meat is superior. While other breeds are kept inside from the winter elements, Mr. Irwin says layers of fat build up on their bodies.

The Highland breed needs no fat insulation from the cold as its long hair develops an underrating of thick down, which insulates the animal from the severe weather. In fact, the breed originated in the Highlands and the west coast Highlands of Scotland both areas where severe climate is the rule rather than the exception. Highland cattle are usually smaller than other breeds with much less fat, so the consumer can buy smaller weights for freezer lots. Mr. Irwin said the average weight of his cattle is between 800 and 900 pounds. They are raised as beef cattle only. “It’s less expensive getting into Highland cattle than any other breed,” he says. “Because they are an outdoor breed, no barns are needed, and they are foliage eaters and eat anything that grows. Feeding the animals is really no problem.”

The Irwins use no additives in the animals’ food for the winter. Mr. Irwin doesn’t believe in all the things beef producers add to bolster weight and produce larger animals. “I like to know exactly what I’m eating,” he says. There are few breeders of Highland cattle in eastern Canada. A few farmers have a small number “to dress up the barnyard,” Mr. Irwin says, but the big Highland breeders arc usually in the western provinces where the first Highland bull was bought in the 1880s by Lord Strathcona of Winnipeg. Balmoral Castle in Scotland raises Scottish Highland cattle for the Queen’s table, and other royal families have favored this breed as its choice of beef. ; In some parts of Scotland the fine wool which grows under the outer coat of hair js often sheared and spun for clothing just as one would use the wool of sheep. This unique animal has another endearing characteristic.

The mothering instinct is prevalent and abandoned calves are unheard of. A Highland cow will not leave her new calf even to feed herself until that calf is old enough to follow. i Safeguard to calves ‘ This protective attitude is a safeguard to new-born calves, many of which would otherwise be lost to predators. The calves arc hardy and grow rapidly to maturity. ! There is only one drawback to raising Highland cattle. Mr. Irwin calls all his cattle by name and they readily come when called. “It’s hard to prepare such a friendly, trusting animal for the slaughter house,” he says.

 

Perils of the Cows of Carleton Place or Where’s the Beefalo?

Should Cows and Smart Cars be Tipped?

Did You Know this about Fraser’s Meat Market?

Cattle Driving — Keeping the Beast on the Road

“Let the Cattle Pass” An Insulting Nuisance

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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