Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cattle Futures?

Cadence has been trying to talk us into getting a couple of cows. Her first idea was to get a couple of dairy bull calves to raise as steers for meat. Sara, on the other hand, dreams of a milking animal. I, on yet the other hand, am a bit leery of huge cattle because we have a tiny farm and have no experience handling big livestock; I say if we get any cows they should be small, hardy heritage breeds. Rog is a bit leery of the idea altogether. We have all been doing lots of reading.
In our research, Cadence was smitten with White Galloways, a very beautiful heritage breed. I was drawn to the Scottish Highland breed because they are smaller, hardy, good for meat or dairy and rather exotic looking.
While searching farm listings for either breed, I came across someone with Dexters, a breed I had never heard of, so I looked it up. Dexters are the smallest true cattle breed, about half the size of most other cattle. The breed was developed in Ireland for small farms and is a rare heritage variety. They seem like the perfect multi-purpose small farm cow--having the most meat per pound, most milk production per pound, and are also great work animals. They are also known for being very calm and very hardy.
Friday morning, Cadence and I drove to Dream River Farm about 30 miles away to see some Dexters for sale. The farm is on a beautiful valley near Cannon Falls and the farmers, Debbie and Lawrence, were so much fun and so excited about their Dexters. We walked out into the pasture and met their sweet cows, which stand about chest high and their funny horses. Their youngest calf is the size and color of our red Aussie, Cocoa.
Since then we have been seriously contemplating purchasing their very young bull, which has excellent bloodlines and one of their heifers due to calve any day. We would wait until the calf is born, but we could be cattle barons very soon!!

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