Miniature Cattle : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I came accross a cool website: does anyone know how many sources there are for these interesting animals. I would also appreciate any feedback about your experiences in dealing with any of these people. Thank You, GD

-- Greg Dillon (, March 25, 2002


We just acquired our first Dexters. We haven't had them long enough to really say,but I like them better than our beef cows. The only thing I would say is to not jump in blind,but learn as much as possible,which is what you appear to be doing. One good place to start is the archives from this board. That is where I got most of my information from. Another is check out all the breeders in your area and be careful who you buy from. I had a chance to buy some locally for a cheaper price but she told me that they had a bull dog calf born and I learned after checking around that the lines she had were known to have them. Also,you might want to post what state you are located,there might be someone from here fairly close to you. Good luck:)

-- LaDena,Tx9 (, March 26, 2002.


In every short-leg Dexter birth there is a 25% chance of a bulldog being born. Does not matter what their "lineage" might be.

I have short-leg Dexters, ( and long also) and I have had a bulldog birth. I also sell my Dexters for much less than most breeders, and the bulldog has nothing to do with it. So. . . . why, you ask?

The Dexters are wonderful animals. They are ideal homestead cows. Perfect size for a freezer beef, and just the right amount of milk for a family. The Dexters originated and thrived on small holdings in Ireland. Most homesteaders would be hard pressed to pay the prices some breeders are asking for Dexters today. The milk or meat would be far too dear. I find it to be detrimental to Dexters. If only breeders or hobbiests are buying the cows. . . . . . where will the market be for the calves? How will the simple folk discover what wonderful little creatures these Dexters are if they cannot afford to purchase one. Dexters are extremely intelligent, personable, easy to calf, hardy. They are just perfect for homesteaders, and I price my cows in hopes they will go to people who will give them good, long- term homes.

The Dexter is not the only breed that has aborted calves due to birth defects. Don't let that scare you away from these truly delightful creatures. Anyone that raises cattle of any breed will lose some percentage of their calves to death.

-- J McFerrin (, March 26, 2002.

Scottish Highland aren't exactly a miniature breed, but they are a small one. They are long haired and long horned, great browser and good for a small homestead. We have raised them for over a dozen years and we love them. Jean

-- jean from Ky (dandrea@duo-county.comm), March 26, 2002.

Thanks for the website, Greg! I hope to have small cattle someday, also.

Mr (Ms?) McFerrin, thank you, also. I appreciate your philosophy on keeping the price down for the homesteaders who can't afford the breeder/hobbyist prices. Where are you located, by the way?!

I was fortunate enough to find a farmer 10 miles away that raises grass-fed Belted Galloways. I didn't know they were considered a small breed. They sure looked pretty big to me! He will be able to provide my family with healthy beef until I can get some fencing up and pasture cleared. How much room does a cow or two need, anyway?

Thanks! Amy

-- Amy (, March 27, 2002.

Amy, I am located in western Md.

To answer your questions as to acreage. The Dexter can be kept on as little as 1/2 acre of pasture. They make the most of the food they eat. Many owners do not even castrate their bulls, or grain them before butchering. The meat is quite good even if the animal was only raised on grass.

-- J McFerrin (, March 27, 2002.

Jean, I like the Highland cattle too. I had some before I settled on Dexters. They were very sweet and gentle. I got my first Dexter after reading an article in Countryside years ago, and was initially attracted by their small size, and the quality of their milk.

-- J McFerrin (, March 27, 2002.

We are new to the miniature cattle business and are thrilled by them. We are breeding an American Sundog Miniature bull to belted galloway cows. Our bull is a proven size reducer for any size cow and look forward to our first set of calves. Belted galloways are not referred to as a small breed, at least they don't like to be told that, they are full size and not miniature but we are breeding them with our size reducing bull to get belties in miniature, not only for their gorgeous color but their excellent traits as well. Our website it if you'd like to know more, we are located in Texas. Come by and join to miniature cattle group at Yahoo!, We and others owning miniature cattle are getting a non profit miniature cattle association together. If you may be interested or would like join for outstanding benefits of promoting miniature cattle in general and holding our own shows, come on by the forum or email us. Brandi

-- Brandi Miller (, May 04, 2002.

The secret to minimizing the chances of producing a bull-dog calf is to avoid breeding two short-leggeds together. We raised Dexters for 12 years, had over 30 head of cows of all sorts of non-uniform sizes/conformations, and never once had a bulldog born on our farm. Although there is always the possibility that out of the hundreds of calves born on our farm that we were just lucky, we did make certain our breeding bulls were never short-legged.

As to the philosophy of pricing ones's cattle well below what other breeders are asking, surely we all have a right to our own viewpoint, but there is another way to see this. Yes, Dexters ARE a very special breed; there is really none other like it. They are NOT miniatures, they have not been bred down as a novelty for size, they are a real, old, tried and true breed, and as such they need to be increased in numbers, because they are still a very rare breed. If it were not for the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's members, most of which are what some might term 'hobby breeders', they would most likely be extinct today. Indeed, a few short years ago, their status almost WAS that dire.

Whether we like it or not, it is often true that we get what we pay for. If Dexters have a value beyond a more common breed, then it seems reasonable that they should be priced accordingly. What often happens when a breed is devalued is that it becomes viewed as just another "junk" cow, is crossbred with whatever is convenient, and the purity of the breed is lost, and with it all of its unique and irreplacable traits.

There is also the philosophy that if one cannot find a few hundred dollars to spend on an animal that will serve faithfully for 15 to 20 years, giving loads of milk and a yearly calf for all one's beef needs, then perhaps that person doesn't possess the wherewithal to raise cattle. I remember when we were raising Fjord Horses, which really CAN be expensive, and which are similarly well-designed as a homestead, all-around horse. We would often encounter folks who would have loved to have one, but could never imagine affording one. I oftentimes wanted to undersell other breeders, practically give em one, knowing they would be well taken care of and used and appreciated. However we realized we would be hurting the breed in the long run, by reducing their value.

In our opinion, rare breeds need 'hobbyists', just like they need farmers and homesteaders who care about the individual breeds, in order for the breed to be preserved and thrive, and these folks deserve to be paid a fair price for their dedication and service to the continuation of a truly unique breed.


-- Earthmama (, May 04, 2002.

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