- Associated Press - Sunday, March 2, 2014

FEDORA, S.D. (AP) - If you’ve ever slowed down to look at those unique cattle along state Highway 34 between Fedora and Howard, you’re not the first.

In fact, Gary Moschell says they’ve got to be the most photographed cattle in the state.

“People love to stop and check them out,” he said. “They’ve got so much more personality than your typical angus.”

That’s because Moschell Farms has Scottish Highland cattle, which carry a long, shaggy coat during the winter months to keep them warm and often have long locks of hair above their noses.

Moschell said Scottish Highlands usually handle the cold weather better than the herd of bison that are also on his land in western Miner County.

“They’re out there in 20-below weather and they’re grazing. I’m freaking out,” said Lynette Forth, who lives with Moschell. “I worry about them nonstop, but we really don’t have too much for winter problems.”

They vary in colors from red to white, silver to black and brown, and sometimes a yellowish color.

“They’ve been known to change colors three times in their lifetimes. It’s pretty neat,” Forth said. “They are just so fun.”

Forth said the cattle are like people, in that they’re calm and crazy at different times. Moschell told the story of being picked up by a cow from behind and both Moschell and the cow being a little surprised.

“She had her forehead right in my butt and her nose right between my legs and I had a handlebar on each side,” Moschell recalled. “So she gave me a ride for about 10 feet and the she was like ‘Oh.’ She put me right down and almost apologized.”

“They don’t really poke us with the horns,” Moschell added. “They’ll swat us first. Or they’ll do what we call the hamburger dance and they’ll shake their head at you.”

Forth, who has been with Moschell since 2000, said the cattle story started in 2007 when they traveled to the western part of the state to buy a calf.

“I really like cows, and I kept teasing Gary that I wanted a little white baby,” Forth said. “We went out there and I thought we would go out there and pick out a calf and have it as a pet, and we came back with a herd. That’s kind of how it started.”

As Moschell describes it, he’s just the farmhand and Lynette runs the operation.

“Do you think she loves them?” he asked teasingly, as she dug out photos and referred to each of their cattle by name.

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