What are my special features?
The cattle have a long black/brown, medium sized body with a distinctive white stripe along the black and a white tail. The breed thrives with little care and produces flavourful, fine quality meat which improves with age and reaches its peak when the cow is over two years old.
What is my history?
The Old Gloucester is one of Britain’s oldest native cattle breeds and was once common throughout the West Country. The cattle have lived in Gloucestershire for nearly a millennium and is a remarkably hardy and well adapted animal for the region. Previously referred to as simply the Gloucester cow due to the link to its home county, the name ‘Old’ has been added in recent years. The term ‘Old’ does not refer to the breed’s antiquity, but is local slang meaning ‘dear’ or ‘affectionate’, a sign of the deep esteem locals had for this breed.
The Old Gloucester was well known in the 13th century when it was used for beef, milk, and draft work on Gloucestershire farms. The Old Gloucester’s fortunes began to decline in the 18th century with the emergence of more specialised meat and milk breeds. Interest revived around 1896 but numbers continued to dwindle as newer breeds gained popularity.
In 1972 the Old Gloucester breed was classified as endangered. When the breed reached this critical point and was close to extinction, local farmers cooperated by reforming the breed society to save it, and continue efforts to increase numbers.
Why am I forgotten?
The Old Gloucester Cattle still faces tough competition from other milk and meat breeds. The beef is currently experiencing a renaissance with locals who find it well-suited to traditional local dishes that involve slow cooking.
Don’t lose me… cook me!