THE KYRATTIN CATTLE ("LONGHORN")

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY - HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR
DIET - MATING - USAGES -
ORIGIN - MYTH/LORE - RESEARCHERS

The Kyrattin is a member of the bovine family and is most identifiable for the long horns seen on the heads of both sexes. Making its home in the Kruswik Steppe, a large grassland in the northern part of Southern Sarvonia, a large number of the Kyrattin were domesticated by the Kyranians soon after their arrival in about 11705 b.S. Providing milk that is both rich and creamy, meat that is temder and tasty, pelts used for a range of products, sinew used for bowstrings and horns for trophies, tools and instruments, almost every part of the Kyrattin are used by the Kyranians and their descendants in some way.

A Kyrattin Bull

View picture in full size Picture description. A Kyrattin bull with its characteristic long horns as found on the Steppe of Kruswik. Image drawn by Seeker.

Appearance. The first thing that most people notice about the Kyrattin Cattle are their long horns. Both sexes have horns, which start to grow when the calves reach one year of age. For a fully grown bull, from the tip of one horn to the tip of the other measures on average two peds, with a few extra fores in length not being uncommon. This same measure for the cows and castrated males (steers) average one ped and a couple of fores. Regardless of whether the Kyrattin's pelt is brown, black, or grey, the horns are white in colour and are uniformly bow shaped.

The Kyrattin's diamond shaped ears are a slightly different colour to the rest of their coats and can move forward and backwards, picking up sounds around them. Their eyes are small and round and normally blue or green in colour. A strong barrel-like neck joins the head to the rest of the animal. When moving around or just standing and watching, Kyrattin keep their heads up, gazing curiously on the world around them.

The Kyrattin's body looks like a long barrel with four legs extending from beneath the body to the ground. Starting at the base of the cattle's body, the legs are large, round and muscular. The legs narrow down to a hoof that has a diameter of approximately two palmspans. The hooves are generally black in colour. The tail is approximately two fores long, is the same colour as the ears and has strands of hair that form an arrow.

Domesticated Kyrattin are branded on their left flank by their owners. In the days of the
Kyranian kingdom, these brands were simply the Kyranian coat of arms. Since then, the brands have become more intricate and indicate the owner's family line. Domesticated Kyrattin are raised specifically for their meat and dairy products and provide a creamier milk and tastier, leaner meat than their wild counterparts.

The bulls weigh up to twenty pygges and reach an average height of two and a half peds from the ground to their shoulder. Cows are lighter and shorter, weighing fifteen pygges and reaching a ground to shoulder height of just under two peds on average. Bulls are two palmspans longer than the cows, nose to rump. Fully grown cows are two peds, one fore long on average. Steers have similar measurements to the cows.

Kyrattin pelts come in a variety of colours, including brown, black and, grey. In addition, some have white splotches patterning their brown, black or grey pelts. All Kyrattin calves are born white, with their patterns starting to emerge when the calves are approximately six months of age. Mittoric Tyrattis, Kyrattin trader and tedious researcher from the time of Garawn Drett, noted the following about his Kyrattin:

"Of the forty Kyrattin I have raised, ten have brown coats, seven have grey coats, three have black coats, nine have brown coats speckled with white, five have grey coats with spots of white and the remaining six have black coats with white splotches." Return to the top

Special Abilities. The horns of domesticated Kyrattin are its main defensive reaction to being startled. While wild Kyrattin use them for this purpose, they also use them to deal with their predators such as Kruswik hoppers, wargs and the Kyranians. The signs that one is about to get charged are the Kyrattin narrowing their eyes, lowering their head and emitting an angry 'trumpeting' type of sound. At this point, it is recommended that the victim attempts to climb a tree or get behind something in the path of the Kyrattin. Not doing so can lead to serious injury and even death.

Kyrattin are willing to eat almost any type of grass, weed or similar vegetation and have a short haired coat. As a result this breed of cattle is highly valued as a low maintenance, high yield animal that is able to survive through a range of climatic conditions such as floods and droughts.
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Territory. The Kyrattin are native to the Steppe of Kruswik, a large grassland that forms part of the ancient Kingdom of Kyrania and the modern day Santharian Province of Xaramon located in southern Sarvonia. The Steppe is bound by the Lower Fores in the east, the Shivering Woods in the west and the Ilian Plateau in the north. The Kyrattin share this territory with their three main predators: wargs, Kruswik hoppers and the
Kyranians themselves. This large grassland has lots of places for Kyrattin to graze and lots of places for them to run to get away from predators. In more recent times, the Kyrattin have been moved by traders to locations with similar conditions to those of the Steppe of Kruswik. This includes the Aurora Plains to the north of the Steppe, and the Narfost Plane to the south. An attempt was made to see if they could exist successfully on the Ráhaz-Dáth Desert, but this attempt ended in failure due to the lack of eddible plant material for the cows. There have been no attempt to breed the cattle otside of the bounds of the Kingdom of Santharia. Return to the top

Habitat/Behaviour. Kyrattin are herd animals at heart. In the wild, they come in large herds, numbering over one hundred, with, on average, one bull servicing forty cows. Young bulls engage in fights against each other and the lead bull in their herd with their horns, with the winner having the pick of cows. Whether wild or domesticated, Kyrattin are mostly active during the daytime. In the wild, Kyrattin are nomadic.

The Kyrattin are relatively peaceful and placid animals unless they are startled or their young are threatened by a predator of some kind. When this happens the eyes of this cattle narrow, their heads lowerand then the Kyrattin attempt to charge whatever it is that has startled them.

Cows drive their young away from them at an age earlier than the cows of other types of cattle. It is believed that this is because the calves are able to stand and care for themselves at an earlier age, rather than the lack of some kind of maternal instinct on the part of the cows.
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Diet. Kyrattin eat the grasses, weeds and other plants that are found on the lands on which they are being raised. These food sources include wean grass, the trinity herb and ath'ho grass. While the pfepper grass also grows in some of these areas, the Kyrattin avoid it as they don't like its hot and spicy taste. During extremely dry seasons, farmers are occasionally forced to feed their domesticated Kyrattin with animal feed from the husk of wheat crops and other similar grains so that the cattle can get more food than that offered by the hardy weeds that seem to resist all efforts of the elements and farmers to kill them off.
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Mating. The breeding season for the Kyrattin is in the early autumn. The cow will gestate over the winter and give birth in late spring to between one and three calves. In the vast majority of cases, cows have one calf. When cows have two or three calves, these calves are generally weaker and smaller than when cows give birth to a single calf. The female will suckle the young until the middle of summer. One bull can usually service forty females a season.

Birthing amongst the Kyrattin is a social affair. Cows remain amongst their herd while giving birth, depending on the strength of the bulls to help protect their young from predators. The calves are hardy and are weaned off their mother's milk at approximately six months of age, compared to the one year average for the calves of other cattle species.
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Usages. Almost every part of the Kyrattin is used in some way. Cows provide a rich creamy milk that can be further modified into creams, cheeses, butters and other dairy products. The Kyrattin are also killed for their lean though flavoursome meat, with the meat from calves especially tender and delicious. Beyetta Laryisa wrote 'Beyetta's Kyrattin Cookbook' a book that listed receipts of delicacies from almost all parts of the Kyrattin's body.

The hides of the Kyrattin can be made into leather and used as grips on weapons, such as the traditional weapon of the Kyranians, the sengren axe. The thin and soft leather from the Kyrattin's hides can also be used to make saddles, bags, shoes and clothes. Sinew from Kyrattin has been used to make bow strings. Horns have been desired as ornaments and trophies by members of the nobility and merchants. The horns have also been used to make crude musical instruments and by farmers as tools around their farms. Finally, the horns are the focus of friendly rivalries between farmers on occasions...

"My longhorn bull had horns that are two peds tip to tip."
"That's nothin', mine measures over two peds tip to tip."
"That sounds like a challenge son. Why don't we both measure 'em?"

During the time of the Kyranian Kingdom, the Kyrattin cattle were used as part of the Manhood Ceremony, Turning Season and similar celebrations amongst the commoners. Wild Kyrattin bulls were ridden, to see which of the young men could stay on the longest. Understandably, the bulls didn't like to be ridden, and attempted to buck the riders off their backs. Serious injuries and even death occurred on numerous occasions. Red rags were waved at the bulls by specially trained runners, who were quick enough to escape the wrath of the bulls and either climb trees or get out of the way behind something solid. Steer wrestling was another popular part of these celebrations amongst young and not so young men. Children also were involved in some of the games, such as the riding and chasing of Kyrattin calves. Return to the top

Origin. The Kyrattin Cattle roamed the Steppe of Kruswik when Cyroan and his people settled in the area. Over time, a number of the wild cattle were tamed and provided the people of Kyrania with meat and dairy products, while the skin was made into leather goods. Both during and subsequent to the time of the Kyranian Kingdom, the Kyrattin became valued for their meat and milk and since the start of Santharia, have become known as some of the finest cattle across all the Santharian provinces.
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Myth/Lore. "You been standin' behind them Longhorns again?" is a common saying amongst the Kyranians. It is often used as a bit of friendly teasing towards young Kyranians, particularly if they have freckles across the bridge of their nose. This saying can also be used by elders to stop youngsters from picking on fellow youths. This saying suggests that Kyranian youths with freckles have Kyrattin dung spread across their face.

The area south of the Kruswik Steppe has a children's song about the Kyrattin and the colour red:

If you ever ever ever ever ever
If you ever ever ever meet Kyrattin
You should never ever ever ever ever
You should never ever wave red at 'em
For if you ever ever ever ever ever
If you ever ever wave red at 'em
You will never ever ever ever ever
You will never ever meet more Kyrattin

The above song was passed down through the generations of Kyranians, possibly even from the time of Cyroan Thromgolin. In any case, its rhythmic quality, meter and beat are similar to those of a poet from those times, Mhairi Ohstene.

From the observations of Mittoric, it has been suggested that the colour red seems to make Kyrattin bulls antagonistic, once again from his journal:

"I heard a disturbance out in the Kyrattin field and so I pulled on a red jacket ... it was cold and windy ... and went out ... I saw nothing apart from the Kyrattin out there. The bull, when he saw what I wore came charging at me. I was able to climb a tree on that occasion. Funnily enough, I never realised that I knew how to climb trees until that point. I was forced to remain up there until sun up."

The incident and the children's rhyme supports a Kyranian myth, called "The Hunter and the Red King" that provides the Kyranian explanation for why Kyrattin don't tend to like the colour red. Return to the top

Researchers. Mittoric Tyrattis is a trader and owner of Kyrattin who lived from 1388 b.S. to 1221 b.S. near the Kruswik Steppe. He wrote a journal entitled "Of the Raising and Trading of Kyrattin" and this work, while tedious to read, and boring in the extreme, has proven to be the most detailed treatise on Kyrattin. As well as an insight into the Kyrattin, it also provides details regarding the life of farmers during the time of the Kyranian Kingdom. Return to the top

 Date of last edit 11th Burning Heavens 1669 a.S.

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