Small cows with big benefits
Stories shared by real Dexter owners
Why Dawn Meier Chose Dexter Cattle
Natures Way Farm
Albion, New York
I have always wanted a farm and cows. I found Dexters fascinating when I was researching the breed that I wanted to have. I only wanted a family milk cow for making my own dairy products but not a cow that gives so much milk I don't know what to do with it all and Dexters are not known for high milk volumes. I make my own butter and cheese and Dexter milk is high in butter fat so that was also a plus.
I don't have a lot of land and only a small barn so the smaller size of a Dexter fits that requirement. They also don't require as much feed or pasture as a larger breed of cattle so that is always a plus. Dexters are gentle and have a quiet temperament. I also like the fact that Dexters are long lived. I know of some that are in their mid to late teens and still productive.
I specifically wanted a dwarf cow and was fortunate enough to find someone local that had exactly what I was looking for. The sweetest little dwarf heifer I ever saw. I bought Kylie 6 years ago as a 6 month old heifer. A year later I bought my bull, Ian. Ian is long legged so no worries about bulldog calves. Ian is a quiet, easy going bull. Comes when he is called and has never been aggressive with me, although I know the rule of never completely trusting a bull. But I am the one mostly working with the animals and he is respectful of me and I of him.
Kylie's first calf was a long legged heifer and I sold her as a future family cow. Kylie gives enough milk for sharing with me and her calf. She was fairly easy to train to milking. Every new mother is a bit jittery with new experiences but she settled in to the milking routine just fine. I can milk her by machine or by hand.
Her second calf was a chondro shortie bull. I had always wanted to train an ox and this was my opportunity. I started bonding with Ardan the day he was born. He was so easy to train and became my good buddy. In fact he is very clingy and doesn't like me to be out of sight when we are away from home. We have worked at a Christmas tree farm pulling trees for U-cut customers last year. This year we worked at a Pumpkin Patch and Ardan gave rides in his cart. He is always very well behaved and very friendly even with strangers and little kids. At home we give kids rides in his cart in summer or on a sled in winter.
Kylie's third calf was also a shorty bull we named Ronan, and I sold him to my ox mentor, Vicky Solomon. She also takes him to various ox events and to a Midievel Festival in Ohio this past summer. This year Kylie had another long legged heifer. She is the sweetest little thing. Very petite and pretty. I think Dexters have the prettiest faces of all the cattle breeds anyway. I haven't made beef out of any of my Dexters as of this point. I prefer it if they go to homes where they can have a long happy life as a family milk cow or an ox.