There is an amazing array of animals at the OC Fair including peacocks, camels and piglets, but some of the most eye-catching critters are the oxen.
At 3 years old and weighing more than 1,000 pounds each, Hoss and Howie make up the Centennial Farm’s newest oxen team. The duo arrived in September 2016 after traveling more than 1,000 miles from Three Eagles Ranch in Larkspur, Colorado.
Hoss and Howie are American Milking Devon, the first purebred cattle in the U.S. and favorite of President George Washington. This breed grows to weigh up to 1,600 pounds, have coats that range from light to dark ruby red in color and have white horns with black tips.
The Farm’s oxen legacy
The first team of oxen at Centennial Farm were named Bill and Bob and they were also American Milking Devon. The second team, Patches and Freckles, came to Centennial Farm from New Hampshire in 2007 when they were 3 years old. Patches, who weighs about 2,400 pounds and whose breed is Lineback, is the only remaining ox of the first two teams.
Fun fact: An ox is a cow or a bull that has been trained to work, not a breed or species. Almost any bovine can be trained to help humans with their tasks and the first were put to work more than 6,000 years ago. These powerful animals can pull plows, logs, boulders, wagons and anything else that is too heavy for humans to move by themselves.
Hoss and Howie now join Patches in the oxen demonstrations, happening this week in the Livestock Show Ring.