Tell Me About Your Dexter Cows, Please. : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

After looking up Dexter cattle I am convinced that this is the cow for us (I was a Canadienne or Jersey fan but Canadiennes are pricey and jerseys too big for us). What I want to hear about is how you feel about your Dexter, your relationship with her, stuff like that. Does that seem wierd? I guess I just have my heart set on a little gal for our homestead and can't wait til next year to get more personal with the breed (eeew..that does sound wierd!). There are breeders here in my province and a Canadian Dexter Association so I am confident of obtaining an experienced milker or a heifer calf next year or later .

-- Alison in NS (, September 19, 2001


Heehee! My experience with the Dexter isn't exactly what you're looking for ~ no milk! I got my steer when he was 2 months old. I've had him for 10 years and I ride and drive him. He hitches to my wagon and cart. He's 38 inches short!

I got mine from an excellent breeder. The breed is quite docile.

-- ~Rogo (, September 19, 2001.

Actually Rogo thats exactly the kind of info I am looking for. I can find breed characteristics and details on production etc on websites and in books. I just wanted to hear Dexter stories from those that have had them. Y'know, the personal touch. Thanks so much, Rogo!!

-- Alison in NS (, September 20, 2001.

In that case, Alison, I'll add this. I was looking for a miniature buffalo to drive hitched up with my miniature donkey. A gal in the feed store overheard me discussing this with folks and suggested I check out her Dexters. What's a Dexter, I asked!

When I got to her place, she was holding a halter and suggested we walk and talk since she had a bull to treat. Now my experience with cattle is rounding them up and pushing them along while on my mount. Walking thru the herds (pastured 24/7) was strange; I'm just under 5 feet and they were shorter than me! No cattle rushed us, none were in a threatening position, none ran away.

In the meantime, I'm looking for the cowboys, ropes and shutes. Didn't see any. Hmmmm, strange! The gal walks up to a bull, puts the halter on him ~ no lead rope, no tying ~ and put some salve into his eye. She then removed the halter and we walked away. I'm speechless! These cattle weren't pets that were played with; they were a business, and I was very impressed.

The average birth weight with this herd was 35 pounds. When a cow had a 22 pound bull (the smallest ever birthed at her ranch to that point), she called me; said she thought he'd be perfect with the mini donk. She laughed and was pleased when she'd see my little guy as he aged....he caught up with the herd in size and weight!

BTW, there are no mini buffalo! The Buffalo Association offered a pair of adults to me so I could breed down. I told them there was 3 things wrong with that:

1. I won't live long enough to properly breed down.

2. I really don't want those unpredictable critters on my property.

3. I prefer buffalo to beef, so they wouldn't last long on my property!

I have never purchased a critter from an auction, swap meet, show, feed store, etc. It just doesn't pay to wind up with a problem or to bring some disease home to my stock.

-- ~Rogo (, September 20, 2001.

I'm not gonna need muich more convincing I think!! LOL I guess next spring..or maybe this fall would be better..I will contact the local breeders I have found through the Dexter Association for a little heifer calf. What amazes me is my husband is actually for the idea as long as it doesn't cost too much for the animal (i have the local price range and we will be looking in the low end). We are big milk drinkers and the hope to eventually produce for our needs is quite intoxicating. We moved to the country with homesteading dreams and I kept them but hubby sort of lost interest. happy to say that since the sheep, pigs, turkeys and chickens arrived he has been getting interested again and is actually enjoying building the barn. Life is good! the Dexters intrigue me with their small manageable size (I too am NOT tall (5' 1/2")and since I am the animal caregiver as well as the stay at home parent of too little boys, a gentle, small animal is right up our alley. if I get a little girl young enough then maybe she will get used to the boys rambunctiousness and not spook whenever they come near. I have been trying to teach them to be quiet around the sheep but its like talking to the wind. :o)

-- Alison in NS (, September 24, 2001.

Hi Alison, Sorry I'm coming in a little late on this post, but wanted to tell you about my Dexters. I purchased two 5 month old heifers about two years ago from a fellow who had a herd that he mainly raised for beef. My intent is to eventually milk them. They were the first Dexters I saw, and looked so cute that I purchased them right on the spot. They were a little bit wild at first (not halter trained), but have settled down a lot in the past two years. I can get a halter on them now, but I need to have a treat in hand to be able to lead them. They have become very friendly cows and I'm hoping to breed them soon. I plan to hand milk them, but that's a bit in the future. I decided to buy two so they would keep each other company. In retrospect, I guess I could have bought a pregnant cow, but wasn't quite ready to jump into milking right away. My husband and I recently attended the American Dexter Association annual conference held in New York. This was my first look at other Dexters and I was surprised to see the range in size. There were full grown cows that truly looked miniature, a lot smaller than my two girls. I've learned that my cows are pretty beefy looking and that some Dexters definetly have more of a dairy confirmation. An oxen training workshop was part of the conference too - very interesting! I am very attached to "my girls" and enjoy having them as part of our small farm (we pasture them on about three acres). So good luck with your Dexter search, and get ready with the manure fork and bucket. I sure don't need Miracle Grow in my garden anymore!

-- Barb (, September 25, 2001.

Oh thanks Barb. What with the sheep and all I don't much need to buy manure or fertilizer myself anymore!LOL I was hoping that I'd be able to get a young heifer calf or a much handled cow a few years old. Leaning towards calf myself since I'd like to train her and handle her myself since she will be part of the family practically. I haven't heard anything against the Dexters so far. What color are yours by the way?

-- Alison in N.S. (, October 02, 2001.

How do the Dexters do around Mules? We have a small place in the Desert north of Palm Springs and would like to add a dexter to the family. Where in Southern California or the USA can we find them to purchase? What does a calf run in price range? Are they raised for pets, milkers or steaks? Do they have any health problems and do they tolerate hot weather?? Just tell me allyou can as we are very interested.

-- Tom Herrin (, January 21, 2002.

Tom, there is a wealth of info on Dexters on the internet, including several threads on this forum's archives. Do a search, and here is your first link:

American Dexter Cattle Assn

-- Earthmama (, January 21, 2002.

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