Steers

Steers

Huck, Billings Farm & Museum’s famous Milking Devon steer, poses with his teamster Amy Deome.

Milking Devons
Do you know what kind of cattle is on the Vermont State Flag? It’s an American Milking Devon, just like our very own Huck! Milking Devons were one of the first breeds of cattle brought to America by the pilgrims in 1623. They are a triple-purpose breed useful for meat, milk, and draft work—everything a pioneer family might need. Devon oxen are strong and smart, and many of the teams that moved westward on the Oregon Trail were Milking Devons.  

Huck Then & Now
You probably notice one big difference in Huck since he’s grown up—his horns! Why do Working Steers & Oxen have horns? Most of our cattle have their horns removed at a young age, but Working Steers keep their horns to help them work in yoke. Their horns keep their yokes from sliding off their heads, and are useful as “brakes.” When going downhill, the yoke presses up against the oxen’s horns, slowing down the momentum of whatever they are pulling.