Balysian cattles are relatively similar in aspect to other large cowttles in the Cylinder : large, square, hooved. However, several specific traits make them easy to recognize, the first one being their almost complete absence of horns. Indeed, the work in close proximity of pairs or quartets of animals has pushed toward a reduction of the animal's horns. Another specific trait of the Balysian Cattle is its ability to survive being put in water. Over the centuries, countless accidents occured on the strait, and an incredible cowttle drowned when the ships they were on sunk. Over time, this has led to two traits that help the beasts surviving if their ship is sunk. Firstly, their fur. Balysian cattle fur is wide-known to be much denser and with much shorter hairs than the fur of other cowttles. This dense fur represent a powerful insulator, that prevent the animal from freezing even before it sunk. What is more, the cows have a particularly thick layer of fat under their skin. This works both as a supplementary insulator when they are in the water, as well as it makes them less dense overall, which helps to remain at the surface and to swim toward some land or some other ship. Finally, as they are beasts of burden, Balysian cows are known to have much thicker and muscular legs than the average cowttle.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Since they are directly descended from the large Cowttles bred elsewhere in the Cylinder, the Balysian Cattle are strictly herbivores. Like other cowttles, they are ruminant animal that need to chew and reingest several times their meals, over the course of several hours. However, unlike their land-based cousins, these sea-faring animals are used to grazing on seaweed and kelp from the moment they stop drinking milk : they don't eat grass, nor do they spend any time in their lives in meadows or open fields. What is more, the cows are used to walk and graze at the same time : their feeding plate is located in front of them on the large wheel of a barge, which allow them to eat and keep powering the ships.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Although numerous cows are used as a workforce in the rest of the world, the Balysian Cattle is the only breed that was exclusively bred for that purpose. What is more, it is the only cattle that has adapted to move around in the confined environment of seafaring ships. The beasts work in pairs or in quartets in the large wheel at the center of a barge. Usually, two groups turn over throughout a trip in the Strait. The cows are used to working in the wheel, and can even graze while walking. Upon the death of a beast, its body is skinned and butchered, and is used for several purposes. The skin, with its extremely dense fur, is used as a insulated cloth for objects and clothes that are sunk underwater. The animal meat is dried and consumed, though is by no mean the tastiest cowttle meat one can find. Fibrous, muscular, and chewy, it is mostly eaten as a sailor ration while traversing the Strait. The cattle meat is also regularly given in offerings, so as to appease the spirits of the Strait.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Balysian cattles are very loclized. They are almost exclusively found in the cities surrounding the Balysian Strait, and in the artificial lighthouse islands that are built along the strait.
5 - 10 years
500 - 700 kg