Tag Archives: beefalo

Louis Irwin of Clayton

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

Where the Beefalo Roam — Did They Ever Overtake Lanark County?


Welcome Cowgirls and Cowboys to your 60 seconds of Carleton Place History brought to you by the Carleton Place Farmer’s Market and the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

It’s Farm Day today at the Carleton Farmer’s Market–Can we say EEEhaw?

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Did you know Carleton Place used to be home to the Beefalo? Lee Richardson was the proud owner of Joe’s Pride. Joe’s Pride was one mammoth offspring of Buffalo and Hereford-Charolais breed. Joe’s young son/calf was born weighing 77 pounds alone. The Beefalo didn’t need to be fed grain– existing off of grass and brush and would give 100 pounds more meat than your average steer. Seeing we have lots of brush in Lanark County, it was a no brainer. Trouble is it was easy to breed one cow, but difficult to breed from the offspring. In that newspaper article I read there was was no more word if Mr. Richardson got himself a herd of Beefalo, but maybe that’s a good thing.

You see out on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim it’s estimated that at least 600 beefalo are roaming the land. This thirsty beast can consume 10 gallons each per trip to a watering hole, which means they can drink a water source dry in no time. But the animals’ environmental impact doesn’t stop there. They also defecate at the watering holes and their hefty weight of poop compacts the soil. Their leisurely dust baths and healthy appetites leave the ground bare. Just 2-300 bison using this one water source, can drink it dry pretty quickly. There goes Mississippi Lake!

You think you’ve got problems with deer crossing the highway in Lanark County? If a car gets in the viewshed between a Beefalo calf and its mother she will ram your car to pieces. Can you imagine hitting something like that at night on Highway 7? Try explaining that to the insurance company!  The Beefalo’s numbers started swelling and the Grand Canyon Conservation group has suggested tribes that have traditionally lived alongside buffalo should benefit to help pass on cultural traditions. But all our Indians that lived in Carleton Place on Indian’s Landing have long gone. Heck, there were only 75 of them left at the time. We don’t even have Mr. Bush and his Shooting Gallery anymore who had good guns and air rifles in 1885 in Carleton Place. So you might have to thank your lucky stars that Lee Richardson no longer has Buffalo. But wait— I have heard tales that the Foggy Mountain Farm in Ashton still had them and I called only to find out the gentleman had passed and there was no longer Beefalo in our area. Now the only place you can see Beefalo in Lanark County is a fantasy game played on Playstation 4 and Wii. Long live the Beefalo!

Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Email Us: cpbheritagemuseum@bellnet.ca
Call us at (613)253-7013
267 Edmund Street, Carleton Place ON
K7C 3E8

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

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


It was tough to be a cow I tell you.. tough.. real tough..

May 1955

Ten cows and a calf were killed when lightening hit a tree on the farm of Mrs. Alex McCuan Monday evening. The cattle were Hereford and Shorthorn breed and valued at $125 each. The farm is located four miles out of Carleton Place on highway 15. The cattle were not insured.


Aug 8 1913

Fifteen head of cattle were killed on the C.P.R. Track about a mile south of Carleton Place after being struck by a train at an early hour this morning. A herd of 175 cattle had been driven into town by the Willow brothers yesterday and placed in the stock pen for shipment. Some time after midnight cattle broke through the fence ad proceeded to travel down different track routes.

A freight train traveling near the 10th and 11 th concessions of Beckwith struck the largest herd and before the locomotive could slow down fifteen cattle were killed or so maimed they had to be destroyed. Two head were also killed on the line west and three east of the station making for a total of 20.


Do Beefalo still exist in Carleton Place?

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Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Ttilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place