The American Aberdeen breed offers small-herd producers distinct advantages. Desirable for their smaller carbon footprint, their end product, and their superior efficiency on forage-only diets. Aberdeen cattle also stand out for their docile nature and economics.
Often referred to as “the original Angus,” Aberdeens have maintained the features that made Angus cattle so popular when they were first crossed into commercial herds in the United States. By focusing on phenotype, Aberdeen breeders have stayed true to cattle with structural correctness that lead to fewer problems over time.
Maternal by nature, Aberdeens are a good fit for cattle operations who need to balance their time with other commitments. For grass-finished and direct-to-consumer enterprises, Aberdeens offer a carcass with modern-sized portions. Most consumers aren’t looking for an 18” ribeye steak.
Cattle eat about three percent of their body weight every day. Mature Aberdeen cows weigh about 1,000 pounds. The average registered Angus cow is now around 1,600 pounds. If your operation depends on feeding hay, there is a big difference in consumption, and the Aberdeen will wean a calf that is a higher percentage of her body weight than the average Angus cow.
If youth cattle showing is part of your family’s vision, check out the American Junior Aberdeen Association. In addition to learning about livestock, members focus on leadership and life skills. The cattle showing year culminates in the National Junior Show.
When selecting cattle for your farm, reflect on your goals, resources and vision. The American Aberdeen cattle are a good fit for both small- and large-scale cattle operations.