Because they are definitive cattle breed! Over history Red Devon have competitively delivered meat and milk, and muscle when functioning as oxen. It is this long history in the yoke that has driven the selection for smart yet docile characters which persists to this day. Red Devon have qualities that are of great value to
Breeders and stock truck drivers will testify to the docile temperament of the Red Devon breed. Temperament is a highly heritable trait, so when a Red Devon is crossed with another breed, the resultant progeny will show a vast improvement in temperament.
- easy handling and less stress
- both bulls and cows are safe to work with
- less maintenance costs on yards, farm gates, broken fences etc.
Red Devons rank as one of the more fertile of all cattle breeds. Calving percentages of 96% and better can be expected on good nutrition. Heifers routinely show oestrus by 300 days, will calve before two years old and get back in calf in 45 days. They have small vigorous calves, providing trouble free calving. Average birth weight of calves is 32 to 38kg.
Red Devon are renowned for high milk production resulting in heavy calves at weaning. Cows are capable of weaning calves at half their own body weight and still being in fat condition, can be wintered below maintenance feed levels until a few weeks before calving again. In other words, using the body condition gained in times of plenty to survive the winter period. An easy-care system.
Cows in the herd are normally culled for age about fourteen years, with some of the top animals kept on longer. This makes the breed an economical one, with a low replacement rate.
A good bull will service 65-70 cows in a season. Because of the constitution and the longevity of the breed, bulls have been known to be still working at the age of fourteen.
- More live calves
- Fewer empties, carryovers or culls
- Reduced replacement costs
Red Devons are an ideal breed for the New Zealand all-pasture feed system. Red Devons are excellent foragers and have been proven in trials to be extremely efficient converters of grass to beef. They are well suited to grazing New Zealand’s hill country and can turn lower quality feed into quality meat and milk. They are also well known as one of the Bos taurus breeds with the greatest tolerance to bloat. This means healthier, tougher, more profitable cattle.
Red Devons are a hardy breed with the thickest hides of any cattle in the world. Their red coat colour helps to protect them against the sun, and red eye pigment helps to prevent cancer eye, an increasing problem for many breeds. They have better resistance to external parasites and are well able to withstand extreme weather changes and extremes of temperature. Their robust constitution enables them to flourish in many different environments, from hot to cold.
- More efficient and effective use of pasture
- Lower vet bills
The fortunes of the Devon breed are linked to the fact that they have never been the “flavour of the month” and have therefore never had the pressure to conform to the factory type production system.
They have not been influenced by other breeds, or the introduction of American genetics as many other breeds were in past years. This means that they have not lost their genetic ability to perform wherever they have had to. It is these traits now that are being so sought after.