MORE ABOUT DEXTER CATTLE
Dexter cattle are one of the Worlds smallest, true cattle breeds.
Dexters are NOT Miniature’s
(Minatures are "size" developed from a previously larger breed).
The Standard calls for them to stand 36 to 44 inches at the shoulder and weigh 750-1000 pounds. (The standard isn't a registration requirement, rather a guidline for breeders.)
Dexter’s are gentle, economical, intelligent, and versatile. Dexter’s are the perfect old-fashioned family cow, a true dual-purpose all around breed.
Dexters come in three colors, predominately black, but also red and dun. Being a Irish mountain breed they are extremely hardy and can live outside year round. Their size and versatility makes them an ideal family homestead cow.
Dexters are either "HC = Carriers" or "HN - Non-Carriers" of a gentic defect called Chondrodysplasia.
They are efficient food converters, the ratio of their milk and beef production to food consumed is very impressive. Their milk yield lower than that of cows of larger breeds, but compared to the larger breed the food intake is much less. Their small size allows you to keep two in place of one larger animal.
Since cattle are “Herd” stock - they prefer company of their own kind - the small size allows you to keep 2 in place of 1!
Our Dexter cow’s have produced about 3 gallons of milk a day with rich percentage of butter fat, which makes for great cream, butter, and home made ice cream! Our 2 year old Dexter steers hang out at 400-500 pounds of meat for our table.
Milk yields will vary according to management and conditions, whether you keep the cows as dairy cows or nurse cows (raising their own calves and perhaps others).
The breed is early maturing and beef of excellent quality, and flavor with good marbling can be produced economically. We prefer our Dexter steers to finish off on grass &/or hay 24 to 30 months old, without supplementary feeding with an average live weight of approx 900#. A 65% dressing ratio is common in our practice.
The meat is very popular with all who try it. Dexter beef is generally a Dark red, lean meat with excellent flavor, small joints and minimal waste.
Heifers mature young and we plan the first breeding at 15 months for first calvings at 2 years old. This gives the heifer ample time to get her growth and maturity before beginning her career, often producing into her teens & twenties.
Calving problems are rare. The calves are usually up and nursing within the first hour without assistance and are real characters with a lively personality and inquisitive temperament.
Mature Dexter cows can be successfully crossed with most other cattle breeds and will produce an excellent commercial offspring however the choice is usually to use Dexter bulls on commercial heifers for fast growing offspring with a lower birth size.
Dexters are found in many parts of the world including Alaska and Hawaii, South Africa, Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Cuba. Most of these countries now have their own breed registries. Dexter’s are truly a small cow with a big future.