The Casta cattle (also known as Aure et Saint-Girons, Auroise and Saint Gironnaise) are a multipurpose breed of domestic cattle from France. It is an endangered breed which originates in the French Pyrénées.
It was named for it’s two principal areas of origin, the area of Saint-Girons and the Couserans in the Ariège and the Vallée d’Aure in the département of the Hautes-Pyrénées.
And the name “Casta” derives from their chestnut coloration. The breed is among the oldest cattle breeds of the Midi. Two different types of these animals were recognized traditionally from two different areas of the range.
The Casta cattle were found throughout the high Pyrénées, from the area of Tarbes in the west to Foix in the east.
In 1990 the breed was officially named as the “race bovine d’Aure et de Saint-Girons“. A herdbook for the breed was established in 1901 or in 1919.
There was some limited cross-breeding with the Bazadais cattle during the 1960s.
Total population of the Casta cattle fell from about 30,000 to less than 9,000 animals between 1930 and 1958.
Total population of the breed fell still further in the years after the Second World War. And there were only 76 cows available in 12 farms by the 1983.
But total population of the Casta cattle breed was estimated at 427 head in 2005, and about 320 animals were available in 2014.
In the year of 2007, the breed was listed by the FAO as ‘endangered-maintained’. Read more information about the breed below.
Casta Cattle Characteristics
Casta cattle are a medium to large sized animals. They are usually grey in color, but may also be chestnut-brown. Skin and mucous membranes of these animals are of pale color.
Both bulls and cows usually have horns. And their horns are large and are of lyre-shaped.
Average body height of the Casta cows is around 135 cm at the withers, and the bulls are slightly larger than the cows.
Average live body weight of the mature cows is around 600 kg. And the mature bulls on average weight around 900 kg. Photo and information from Wikipedia.
Casta cattle were formerly used as a triple-purpose animals. Previously they were used for milk and meat production. And were also used for draught purposes.
The Casta cattle are very hardy animals. They were previously used for hardy draught purposes. But today, the breed is mainly kept for meat production purpose.
The breed is also pretty good for milk production. Their milk is of good quality.
And milk of the Casta cows has a high fat content and is used in the production of Bethmale cheese. However, review full breed profile of the Casta cattle in the following table.
|Also known as Aure et Saint-Girons, Auroise and Saint Gironnaise
|Milk, meat draught
|Well adapted to native climates, very good for meat production, hardy, good for milk, good quality meat, good for draught purposes
|Medium to large
|Around 900 kg
|Around 600 kg
|Generally grey, but may also be chestnut-brown
|Country/Place of Origin