texas longhorn cattle
texas longhorn cattle
5 Farm Animals With Eye-Catching, Impressive Horns
Facts about our favorite rural animals with unique horns
By Scott Bish
There are some incredible horns in the animal kingdom, including some that are abnormally large or point in opposite directions. Sometimes, five horns can protrude from one head.
Anatomically, horns are bony structures covered in keratin, the same substance that makes up human hair and nails. And though horns are fun to look at, animals grow them for distinct reasons: Horns can be protective mechanisms, used to assert dominance, or help regulate body temperature.

To pay homage to the horns of life out here, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite unusually horned farm animals, along with some interesting facts about each creature.

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1. Manx Loaghtan Sheep
group of Manx Loaghtan Sheep
Native to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland, this extraordinary breed of sheep has four (or sometimes more!) horns pointing in different directions, according to the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Organization. One way rams use their horns is by clashing together to exert dominance.

The doubling of horns is caused by a gene that splits the horn bud, and it’s even possible for these sheep to be born with five horns. Beyond the multiple horn anomaly, these sheep can also be born with eyelids that are split in the middle, making them even more unique looking.

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2. Texas Longhorn Cattle
head on image of a Texas Longhorn Cattle
This breed of beef cattle is aptly named: The animal has two extra-long, pointy horns protruding from its head that it uses as self-defense against wild predators.

According to Dyann Foster of the International Texas Longhorn Association, the horns of longhorn calves start showing a month after birth and look like nubs. By the time the cattle are adults, the horns of most cows and bulls measure up to 4 feet. However, mature steers’ horns span an average of 6 feet, and can reach up to 9 feet by the age of 15, according to the Cattle Site.

3. Kiko Goat
First developed in New Zealand as a low-maintenance meat goat, Kiko goats have horns that typically swept back into a T formation. Kiko means “meat” in the Maori language, according to the New Zealand government’s Te Ara. This goat is known for its hardiness and fast weight gain, making it an increasingly popular breed among American farmers over the past few decades.
headshot of a Kiko Goat
4. Ankole-Watusi Cattle
group of Ankole-Watusi Cattle
Among the horned-animal kingdom, Ankole-Watusi cattle, a breed native to Africa, truly stands out. According to Sea World, their majestic horns grow to approximately 6 feet long. And as Oklahoma State Univerity’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resouces explains, these large horns are like natural radiators: blood passing through the horns is cooled, and then circulates back into the rest of the main body, allowing heat to be evenly dispersed so the animal can stay comfortable.
5. Girgentana Goat
twisted horns of a Girgentana Goat
Just when you thought horns couldn’t get more remarkable, you come across the spiraling ones atop the heads of girgentana goats. According to OSU, these goats’ horns, which spiral straight up instead of outward like other breeds, typically reach nearly 20 inches long.

Girgentana goats are indigenous to the southern part of Sicily, Italy, in a province called Agrigento, according to ROYSFARM. Here in the United States, farmers often breed them for milk.

And their horns aren’t the only thing that’s unique about these goats. Their coat is long, coarse, and all white except for brown spots around the eyes. Some Girgentana goats also sport a beard on their chin.

Do you have an animal with unique horns? Let us know! Send us a picture at OutHere@TractorSupply.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.
About the Writer
Scott Bish is a writer who hails from Ohio.

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