Ark of Taste
American Milking Devon Cattle
In 1623 the first Milking Devon were brought to Massachusetts from North Devonshire, England. In England, these cattle were highly valued for their production of both high quality beef and rich milk used in Devonshire cream. In additon, they had a reputation as being very hardy and able to thrive on rough forage. Because of this practicality, the Devon became a natural choice for immigrants. Their agility when working on hilly, rocky terrain contributed to their popularity in the New England colonies.
The Milking Devon Cattle became well established in New England during the seventeenth century and spread down the coast as far as Florida during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, by the late nineteenth century, the breed was gradually replaced by the Shorthorn, a more productive multi-purpose breed, and by 1900 the Milking Devon was rarely seen outside of New England. With the market for dual-purpose cattle dwindling, the Milking Devon cattle mostly disapperared by the mid 1900s. in response to this loss, Milking Devon breeders began selecting specifically for beef. The new population became known as the Beef Devon Bred. A few selcect traditional breeders continued multi-purpose selection, which resulted in a new breed renamed the American Milking Devon (the closest cousin to the original Milking Devon).
The American Milking Devon is an attractive, light to deep ruby red breed with black-tipped white horns. They are a medium size, with the cows weighing about 1,000 pounds and bulls about 1,600 pounds. This historical, efficient, hardy, multi-purpose breed is listed as critically endangered by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.