Love the idea of farm fresh milk harvested at home, but lacking in space? Maybe you want milk for your family, but are not sure what you’d do with 8-10 gallons per day from a modern Holstein? Perhaps miniature dairy cattle are the answer.
Dexter cattle are a heritage breed of cow from Ireland, with unsurpassed hardiness, resilience and versatility. They’re considered a dual-purpose breed, ideally suited to producing rich flavorful milk and a high percentage of meat, and some owners even use their docile cattle as oxen.
Benefits of Small Size
The small size of Dexter cattle comes with many large benefits. A mature cow weighs in at roughly 600 to 800 pounds, or about one-third the size or your average Holstein, making them ideal for small land holders to manage. They’re a common choice for children in 4H projects because they’re docile and easy to handle, and their shorter stature makes them less intimidating to children. Their low weight means that they’re easier on the land, which can help prevent damage in wetter areas.
Space and Feed Requirements
A smaller size means Dexters require less food and pasture space than a full-sized dairy cow. Depending on the forage, one-half to 1 acre of pasture is enough to sustain a Dexter at high summer.