Small Horn Cattle

Breeds and animal husbandry - Macedonia

Kusorozno Govedo cattle, whose name means 'small horn cattle,' is a local population of the Busha cattle breed, once the most prominent breed spread throughout the Balkans area. This centuries old breed belongs to the group of primitive shorthorn cattle (Bos brachyceros europaeus). The cattle are 90 - 115 cm tall at the withers, with a body length of 116 - 132 cm. The average weight of fully-grown animals is 150 - 300 kg, but with better nutrition cows can weigh up to 280-320 kg and bulls up to 430 kg. The cattle have small, lyre-shaped, usually symmetrical horns. Hides can be brown, gray, black, red or striped. The milk production of this breed is around 680-1460 liters annually. This low production cannot compete with specialized dairy breeds. The breed is slow to reach maturity, and has poor fattening qualities, mainly due to the harsh climate. Despite this, it has been classified as a triple purpose breed (for milk, meat and work) in Macedonia. Although these cattle are no longer generally used for work, they have retained their poor milk and meat production capabilities. However, keeping in mind that the breed is well adapted to the harsh conditions of rural Macedonia, and is resistant to local diseases, it is still the most significant milk and meat resource for these areas where more productive cattle breeds cannot thrive. Milk and meat from Busha are used for self-consumption or animals are reared for direct selling. In the past several decades, as a result of uncontrolled crossing of this cattle with more productive breeds, the number of purebred Busha animals was drastically reduced, imposing an urgent need for setting up in situ and ex situ conservation programs for this breed.