Irish Moiled

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A prize-winning Irish Moiled

The Irish Moiled is a rare cattle breed from Ireland. It is a dual-purpose breed, reared for both beef and milk. It originated in County Leitrim, County Sligo, and County Donegal, but the breed is now found throughout Ireland.


The Irish Moiled Cow is one of the most distinctive breeds in Ireland. They are polled cows (they do not grow horns) and are generally red with a white line on the back and stomach. They are usually known to have a flecked face and are dual producers. Dual producing cows are used for beef but also dairies which is not common with most cows. These cows fit within the average height and weight of a typical species, around 650 kg. It originated in County Leitrim, County Sligo, and County Donegal, but the breed is now found throughout in Ireland. The name Irish Moiled Cow originated from the term "Maol." This term is Gaelic and references to the dome and the fact that these cows do not have horns. It is very distinctive how their head is shaped like a mound. These cows are also extremely endangered, and up until 1980 the decline was substantial. In 1970 one breeder had been keeping the Irish Moiled Cow an actual animal and not just another extinct statistic. This breeder had only 30 female cows left and was struggling to keep the cows breeding. Today the statistics have improved greatly and are now being produced in both Ireland and England.

The Irish Moiled Bull and Cow[edit]

The Irish Moiled Cow has a gestation period of about nine months if kept at a decent health. It has also been experimented on and succeeded in the use of artificial insemination. They are a famous cow for possessing the capability to raise almost any breed of calf with little to no difficulty. They contain more than enough milk for their calves and never have a problem with starving udders. According to common belief they have an irregularly large stomach in order to consume more poor quality grass and moss.[1] The Irish Moiled bull on the other hand has a very passive temperament according to ranchers that have had an experience with this bull. They are an ideal bull for grazing because they leave the stubs of grass in the ground in order for that grass to grow back more rapidly. One standout about this bull is that they are also "extremely hardy and alert at an early age".[2]

Irish Moiled Beef[edit]

Irish Moiled meat is remarked to be of great quality and has a very recognizable flavor. This cow is known to produce a good beef in poor conditions but needs care to protect it from becoming overweight and making the beef too fatty. "We were told that the quality of Irish Moiled beef had, almost literally, saved the breed from extinction."[3] As reported by a beef distributor, the turnaround for Irish Moiled beef has been reviewed to be of excellent quality by their customers.

Breed History[edit]

The Irish Moiled Cow is one of the oldest breed of cow in Ireland and "the [Irish Moiled] breed has been very successful in proportion to its numbers in open competition with other breeds in the milk recording contests."[4] Although the Irish Moiled Cow really did originate from Ireland, its known location to most is Finland. This is due to the fact that Norseman, such as the Danes, took much of the cattle. The numbers of Irish Moiled Cow left in Ireland made the true Irish cows endangered, and in an effort to replenish the numbers, the Irish Moiled Cattle Society tried to buy cows from Finland. The only problem was that they had to get special permits in order to breed these cows to bring them back. Once the cow had been replenished in Ireland, there was a sharp decline from 1930 to 1970. By the late 1970s there were only 30 cows left in Ireland owned by two breeders. The cow was becoming extinct and if the demand for Irish Moiled beef had not been required, this breed would have died out. Since then, the cow has made a comeback, it is still rare and endangered but is now being produced more widespread throughout Ireland as well as parts of England. There are now around one hundred breeders in the mainland of Ireland as well as another 40 breeders in England. Another important note of the Irish Moiled Cow is that throughout all the hardships that the breed has faced, they have maintained a pure breed albeit with some careful admixture of polled Lincoln red and beef shorthorn blood when the breed numbers were so low and no pedigree bulls were registered. Since then a grading up register was for a period allowed but has now been officially closed. This means that the species of Irish Moiled is maintained and healthy and breeding pure once again.


  1. ^ "Irish Moiled Cattle -The Breed". Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Irish Moiled". 5m Publishing. Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Irish Moiled Cow". Retrieved 6 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Yarwood, Richard (1997). The Contemporary Geography of Indigenous Irish Livestock. Worcestor College of Higher Education. 

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