Angus cattle facts for kids

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Blackangus
Angus calf with its mother

The Angus cattle, also known as Black Angus, or Aberdeen Angus is a Scottish breed of black hornless cattle. They come from the counties of Aberdeen and Angus.

It is a medium-sized to large breed, with the cows' weights averaging around 1000 lbs and bulls' weights averaging from 1800 to 2000 lbs. Cattle are mostly black and naturally polled or hornless. They are commonly raised in Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, South America and the British Isles. It is the most popular beef breed in the United States.

Characteristics

Because of their native environment, the cattle are very hardy and can survive the Scottish winters, which are typically harsh, with snowfall and storms. Cows typically weigh 550 kilograms (1,210 lb) and bulls weigh 850 kilograms (1,870 lb). Calves are usually born smaller than is acceptable for the market, so crossbreeding with dairy cattle is needed for veal production.

The cattle are naturally polled and black in colour. They typically mature earlier than other native British breeds such as the Hereford or North Devon. However, in the middle of the 20th century a new strain of cattle called the Red Angus emerged. The United States does not accept Red Angus cattle into herd books, while the UK and Canada do. Except for their colour genes, there is no genetic difference between black and red Angus, but they are regarded as different breeds in the US. However, there have been claims that black angus are more sustainable to cold weather, though unconfirmed.

The cattle have a large muscle content and are regarded as medium-sized. The meat is very popular in Japan for its marbling qualities.

Red-angus
Mixed herd of Black and Red Angus

Uses

The main use of Angus cattle is for beef production and consumption. The beef can be marketed as superior due to its marbled appearance. This has led to many markets, including Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom to adopt it into the mainstream. Angus cattle can also be used in crossbreeding to reduce the likelihood of dystocia (difficult calving), and because of their dominant polled gene, they can be used to crossbreed to create polled calves.

Commercial

Starting in the early 2000s, the American fast food industry began running a public relations campaign to promote the supposedly superior quality of Angus beef. Beginning in 2006, McDonald's commenced testing on hamburgers made with Angus beef in several regions in the US. After this test, the company said that customer response to the burgers was positive and began selling the burger made with Angus beef in all US locations in July 2009. In response to the test in the US, McDonald's Australia began selling two Angus burgers, the Grand Angus and the Mighty Angus, using Australian-bred Angus, in their restaurants.


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