Aubrac Breed: A Guide to Raising the Best Cattle for Your Farm

Dawson Steele

Ahoy there! If you’re among the lucky folk in the know about or want to discover Aubrac cattle, then you’re in for a good read! Get your butts down on the sofa (or at your desk, who am I to judge?) for this one-of-a-kind look at an old-world breed of farm animal with a long history of use for everything from meat to milk.

We’ll take it all in and break it down: we’ll start by taking a look at how the Aubrac is put together genetically before examining its use throughout history, the many ways it is set to good use in modern times, and end up discussing what impact it can potentially have on the agricultural industry. All aboard! Let’s get exploring!

Table of Contents

Exploring the Rich History and Origins of Aubrac Cattle

Ancient Roots in France’s Massif Central

The Aubrac is one of the oldest French cattle breeds, tracing its records back to the seventeenth century in the valley of the Truyere in France’s southern Massif Central. Though once known for its rough-and-tumble badlands, today it is a richly-fertile agricultural area. The powerful and agile Aubracs have been at home in this region for at least four hundred years. They can also be found in other areas of the Massif but are never seen in large numbers.

Cross-Breeding to Improve Dairy Production

At the end of the eighteenth century, some of these animals were introduced to the Alps to take advantage of their more excellent milk production capabilities than other French natives. But it wasn’t until 1894 that it was finally decided to try to give them an even more significant boost by crossing them with British Shorthorns.

This ultimately culminated in 1919 with an official association for breeders who coordinated efforts for continuous improvement through the use of bulls from all types of dairy, breeds-including Brown Swiss, Ayrshire, Holstein-Friesians, and Braunviehs-to give them even more power without altering that original look they had become endowed with over centuries on end. The resulting idea – documented in 1922’s Aubrac Herd Book – seemed to have hit on something special thanks to bull Semoun born in 1928 to a Braunvieh dam and an Aubrac dad.

Cutting-Edge Look Combines Power & Elegance

Today’s Aubrac is a sight to behold: it is medium-sized but deep-bodied, has strong loins but light carriage, and provides an aura of both activity and strength at once! Bulls can get up to about 2,200 pounds, with cows usually weighing between 1,800 to 1,900 pounds on average – no small feat, depending on where you look at it! But ease of calving and fertility don’t stop there either; their production is unrivaled among their French compatriots for sheer volume for their size!

The look is just as arresting too! From horned heads on both sexes to dark-tinted hooves (helping fight off sunburns in the summertime heat and frostbites in winter chill) down all through to dark ear tips for similar protection for good measure down there as well, plus a whole mixture of light or dark brown patterns over parts like faces or elsewhere over bodies help identify individual animals out by sight alone like no other!

An Insight into the Unique Features of Aubrac Cattle

Appearance and Temperament of Aubrac Cattle

Aubrac cattle have light-red to light-brown coats and horns, can reach up to 140 cm in height, have a weight of up to 900kg, and have a lively temperament. They show good maternal qualities as they calve easily by themselves.

The adaptability of Aubrac Cattle

These cattle are hardy, show good resistance to tick-borne diseases, and have no known genetic defects or health problems. They can live in free-range management systems in cold temperatures with a lack of food better than other breeds of cattle, thanks to their robustness and good legs.

Production Qualities of Aubrac Cattle

As far as production is concerned, milk is low in cholesterol and fat but has a good yield for dairy products. The meat product is also of good quality and is used for meat production across France in Aveyron, Cantal, Lot, and Lozere departments. Moreover, there is no set breeding season for these cattle due to their dual-purpose use for milk and meat production.

Biology of Aubrac Cattle

The gestation period for these cattle is 283 days on average, resulting in a birth-to-conception period of 368 days in total once they give birth to one calf at a time. Furthermore, nasty teats are also standard in the breed; help at calving is often needed. There is no set calving period nor set breeding area for this breed since it is one of the oldest French breeds, having been recognized since 1894 when it was brought over from the Massif Central in France mainly for its use in meat and milk production.

Additionally, no set milking or butchering date is set for these animals, nor is there a set mating period or weaning time – the fattening period is also unset with no set slaughter age either. Still, regular check-ups by a vet need to take place, plus vaccinations need to be done as well! In terms of food and water for these animals, adequate provision needs to be ensured alongside shelter; plenty of space and exercise also need to be maintained throughout the lifespan, reaching up to 15 years on average for an Aubrac cow!

Unveiling the Multi-Usality of Aubrac Cattle in Farming and Agriculture

Beef and Dairy Production Benefits of Aubrac Cattle

Aubrac cattle have been bred to be excellent for use in farming and agriculture for many years. They play a prominent role in providing beef for butchery use and dairy production. Boasting good herding instincts yet being calm, these animals are well-reputed for their ease of managing by farmers worldwide.

The meat of Aubrac is renowned for its tenderness and is produced into steaks, cuts, mince, and offal for butchery use. It hardly needs to be cooked at high temperatures to get tender. Hence, it is renowned for its good flavor. Thanks to their high-fat content of up to 8%, it can take on any flavor it is cooked with, leaving no bland taste.

In milking, these animals give out up to 4500 liters of whole-fat milk per cow in a year! Due to this high-yield quality, it also leaves out no chance of bad flavoring thanks to all the good fat content in it! All in all, Aubrac cows make an excellent choice for farmers all over the globe!

The resilience of Aubrac Cattle

What’s more, these cows can withstand harsh weather conditions like no other! Despite hail storms challenging them regularly, they can live through challenging travel across bad terrains thanks to their exceptionally rugged look!

Furthermore (due to evolution over time), their hides have adapted well against inadequate arrangements like manure built on farms without catching any diseases! All factories looked up!

So once bought from the farmers market, the chance of needing change is out of the question since they literally’ stand like rocks’ through thick and thin for years down the line! All you need is good grazing lands, and appropriate fodders for their nutrition needs daily!

Pet-Friendly Nature Of Aubrac Cattle


Not only are they tough workers, but they also make good pets! They are amazingly friendly with humans, so much so that attention is nicely attributed to them once given away! Also, interacting with kids makes them quite comfortable while being petted by them, thanks to which certain old aged people keep them off late or buy them just because they won’t be soothing like a pet while shuffling through their old age!

Delicious and Nutritious: Uncovering the Benefits of Aubrac Cattle Beef

The Aubrac is a breed of cattle from the plateau of the same name in southwestern France. The Massif Central is between 900-1300 meters in elevation, situated in northern Aveyron in the Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées region. Thanks to its high-quality meat, Slow Food Arc of Taste and French Label Rouge recognized it in 2001 and 2006 to help avoid extinction, respectively. In 2008 Slow Food USA also included it in the Ark of Taste.

Robustness for Severe Winter

This distinctive breed can withstand harsh winters on the Aubrac plateau thanks to its robustness and ability to use low-grade resources. Put into the light for their unique qualities at a show in Paris in 1889, it is believed to have spread all over the world from Lantosque on the borders of Aveyron and Lot.

Muscle Size for Better Conversion

Compared to old bovine breeds of the end of 19th century Alps of Aubrac, this breed has a more significant muscle size for better food conversion but sacrifices reproductive size for motherly qualities.

Tender and Tasty


The high-quality Aubrac beef is incomparably tender, juicy, and flavorful – making it an all-time hit!

Aubrac Cattle: All about Breeding and Management

The Renowned Breed in its Native Environment, Central Massif of France

Aubrac cattle have been bred and managed in the same manner in their native region of Central Massif in France for over two hundred years, with the majority of the land still unenclosed by fences. This is thanks to the regional practice of “transhumance” – a traditional method of grazing that involves moving herds up to summer pastures on high-elevation mountains before relocating to lower-elevation plains for winter.

Using Aubrac Genetics to Create Quality Beef for Modern Customers

To help promote and expand the use of Aubrac genetics in commercial herds, a breed society was set up in recent times to produce better quality beef for today’s consumers. In Britain, while there are no more than four pure-breed Aubracs herds currently existing, there is an up-and-coming surge of interest in using Aubrac bulls to help create modern commercial cows that can easily calve good litters, have high fertility with good milk yields for suckler cows, as well as being easily managed and naturally hardy.

The Resilient and Treasured Aubrac Cattle: A Look at their National and International Relevance

Origins of Aubrac Cattle in France

The Aubrac is a cattle breed originating from the Aubrac area in the Massif Central of France. The first known description of this hardy breed was written in the 1830s. Originally it was a multifunctional, triple-purpose animal – for milk, meat, and draught use – but in recent years, it has mainly become a beef breed. Its closest relative is the Salers, also from France.

Protection Against Bovine Leukemia Virus

Aubrac cattle are one of three European breeds that have some natural resistance to bovine leukemia virus – not common among northern European cattle varieties but is seen in other breeds on the continent. This rare quality can help keep calves stillborn free from infection by the virus while reducing its spread to others by providing good maternal resistance over generations.

Distinguishing Characteristics of Aubrac Cows

These tough cows’ coats are typically red with a light grey-white strip down its backside and white markings on the front legs and end of the muzzle. On average, bulls tend to weigh 1,000 kilograms, whereas cows can go up to about 800 kilograms in weight.

They also have an average standing height of about 145 centimeters for bulls and about 135 for cows. Newborn babies are all-red, but by their first year, light-colored stripes on their backs start to show before finally darkening on the sides by about one year old.

Where Is It Mainly Found?

The idea used to be for it to be all over France. Still, it is mainly seen in parts of départements like Aveyron, Lozère, and Cantal (located in the Massif Central) and Lot-and Garonne set down in south-west France, while it can also be found in other countries around the world, such as Canada too.

In 2005 there were close to 500,000 head of Aubrach cattle residing in France which put it in 8th place out of all significant breeds at risk for eventual extinction if current trends continue. However, organizations like our Global forage des Bois have actively worked with European communities to try and help avoid this by protecting small farms at risk through sustainable agricultural management practices.

Characteristics That Help Extremely Climates


It’s also an excellent breed for terrain on high mountainous areas as they can use their strength to cover up to 30 kilometers of uphill fights before eventually finding cows through scent trails etc., even more efficiently than horses! Also, on average, a cow’s gestation periods last 279 days before finally giving birth!

The region of southern France is known for its vibrant culture, culinary arts, and centuries-old farming traditions. Cattle have been an integral part of that tradition for many years- it is no surprise then that France is Europe’s leading beef producer, at 2.5 million tons in 2019. One of the most iconic breeds of this tradition is the Aubrac cattle, which originated in the Midi-Pyrenees region of the Massif Central mountain range in the early 19th century.

What is an Aubrac?

An Aubrac is a medium to large-sized bovine that typically stands around 140 to 160 cm at the shoulder. Its light to dark fawn coat is naturally smooth and sleek to protect from bad weather- small ears set out at an outward angle away from its head also provide additional protection. Aubrac bulls tend to weigh about 1,000 to 1,200 kilograms on average, while cows weigh about 650 to 900 kilograms on average.

Although once threatened by extinction thanks to overhunting in previous centuries, it had a resurgence in popularity during to 1950s- it is no longer rendered as an at-risk breed. Still, it remains on a watch list with the UK’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust as a ‘vulnerable’ bovine breed. It is one of the oldest native French breeds and has been recognized by France in its national herd book since 1896.

Advantages of Keeping an Aubrac Herd

Aubracs have several qualities that make them suitable for use on small farms: they have high fertility rates with cows able to give birth to up to six calves over their lifetime; thanks to carefully chosen non-native bloodlines over successive generations, these sturdy beasts can withstand all sorts of harsh terrain and keep up strength through lack of nourishment; calm in disposition yet strong-boned and muscular make it all easily manageable by beginner ranchers; finally they can produce lean but good quality beef plus decent quality milk for use in dairy products like cheese!

Where Can I Buy or Use My Herd of Aubrac?

The traditional home of the Aubracy breed is in southern parts of France, where it is still used mainly for meat- but also for dairy purposes when weather permits it- but it can fare well outside its home country too! Thanks to its robustness, it can do well in hotter regions like Africa and South America, with ease of care also making it suitable for educational programs or youth training initiatives like agriculture schools. All these factors help explain why it remains such a popular choice among small farms worldwide!

Exploring the Uniqueness of Aubrac Cattle: Comparing Them to Other Breeds

If you want to get acquainted with the Aubrac cattle breed in France- in southern Normandy, to be precise- check out the Wikipedia page for more details. They look impressive!

The appearance of Aubrac Cattle

These little guys come in all different colors but are mainly light brown-tan with darker markings on their back, head, and other places on their bodies. Some have light-colored charges but dark tan bodies, while others have dark chairs but light tan-brown bodies. Horns are also present but small in size- just big enough to give off a rugged look without getting tangled up in fences or brush in case of a fight for dominance. They have short but thick hair, which helps keep them warm in winter while also helping keep off bugs and water away in summer to avoid sunburn and illnesses at bay.

How Do They Compare With Other Breeds?

Comparing Aubracs to other cattle breeds is no tough job- they look much better than most others simply because it is one of my favorite breeds! The way they look- light but tan body color combined with short-haired coats is charmingly cool. Muscles in the animal can help it move about quickly during winter months, protect it from predators, and keep up with all its herd mates through all seasons by avoiding diseases that can set it back for good.

All in all, I think Aubracs seem pretty distinct from all other breeds, thanks to its whole package of qualities like body color tone down to small things like horns and muscle size!

Harnessing the Power of Aubrac Cattle in Sustainable and Organic Farming

Butchering at the End of December

We butchered our Aubrac-cross heifer at twenty months at the end of December. This heifer was raised on our pasture without grain for its whole life. That also meant no creep-feeding of grain before it was weaned or vaccines, antibiotics, chemical wormers, or supplementary forage after October 1 of its first year. Not needing to wear a halter or have their hooves trimmed by people is also part of the equation.

Change in Modern-Day Livestock Systems

When you think about cattle all over the world in locations where farming has been around for centuries, it’s clear to see that it is only in recent centuries that we have expected cattle to live in stanchions in large barns and eat non-stop from birth until death. This idea has been extant for a few decades in the United States.

Many old-fashioned farmers and ranchers seem to agree it is all thanks to the non-selective use of antibiotics in the 1970s that keeping animals in close structures like this became possible. Right around this time, thanks to the non-selective use of herbicides – killing off all plants but grazing perennials was also likely in the coldest parts of America – it changed how livestock was farmed too!

Old-Fashioned Animal Husbandry on Our Farms

The idea of raising cattle for meat on my farm returns to thinking about old-fashioned animal husbandry, with fewer animals, all well-cared for on my small farmstead. It is a good idea for those who buy higher quality meats, but my family and friends seem unenthused about paying for natural meats!

Fake Meat Warriors

The rules set down by fake meat warriors on the internet often try to tell me that I have done wrong to eat real meat! But I find it very hypocritical as I have chosen to go down this route as have my ancestors before me for many millennia before us! Their economic interests over all else replace the chronic consumption of natural meats. All I want is for them to give up trying to get us away from enjoying all our traditions of eating natural raw meats!

Aubrac Cattle: A Glimpse into the Future of Beef Production Around the World

The Allure of All-Natural and Organic Foods Prompts Attraction to the Aubrac Cattle Breed

These hardy, all-natural cattle have been bred in the rugged terrain of Aubrac in central France for over 200 years. But it is their foraging for over six to seven months in the hills of this region during winter that has put them on the map recently in light of all-natural and organic foods being at a premium in today’s world.

Thanks to its natural hardiness, it is no surprise that Aubracs have impressive musculature after only eating all-natural forage all winter in the crisp mountain air. After they have made the journey down to the low-lying plains of France in spring, it is then that they start to show off their vibrant good-health thanks to their mainly forage-based diet all year round.

Aubranc Cattle Show off Impressive Musculature Larger than Other Breeds at Springtime Thanks to their All-Natural Feeding Practices

All breeds of cattle have muscles larger than other animals; still, it is at this time of year that it becomes particularly noticeable about this breed – even more so thanks to its all-natural foraging practices in a relatively deprived environment of minimal sunlight for long periods in Auobrac.

This idea of all-natural and organic foods is further reflected through the more considerable popularity of other non-GMO food sources like fruits and vegetables, which can help explain why this breed is also gaining traction internationally through various beef production qualities it can offer over comparative cattle breeds.

Increased Interest and Investment in Aubrac Cattle by Farmers, Scientists, Chefs, and Bovine Enthusiasts

Because of this newfound attention on all-natural and organic products, one can expect there may be a more significant investment into Aubrac cows by farmers and bovine enthusiasts alike around the world as they seek out more unaltered traditional breeds like them. This can likely set up exciting breakthroughs down the line regarding processes such as breeding over time while maintaining bookmarks on traditional values all at once.

There are many reasons why farmers and others would like to invest in this ancient breed of French cattle. Still, none seem more evident now than its all-natural disposition, which is undoubtedly prompting much interest by bovine enthusiasts worldwide!


Final Thoughts

I have to say my fascination for the marvelous Aubrac Cattle is unceasing! While I have admired its unique appearance of white ear-tips and muscular build, I was astounded to discover it can also survive in more challenging terrains. It is no doubt why this breed of cattle has become a hit in farming and its beef on our dining table.

Having tremendous experience in raising animals in my project at home, I can confidently vouch for Aubrac Cattle, which are no less than rewarding. With all the benefits it presents, it is no wonder it is gaining attention on all continents worldwide!

Let us take the time to appreciate all of its unique traits and give it the praise it deserves!

Let us raise our glass to show appreciation for the criteria that set the unique Aubrac Cattle apart!

Cheers!

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