Updated w/Dexter Pix p2 - was: Tell me about Dexters

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Meesh, May 6, 2008.

  1. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Hi,

    Since there are some Dexter people on the board... Please help me. We are looking to buy a small cow or two. Highlands or Dexters look like a possibility. I like the press about Dexters, but am a little concerned about what I've read on the board about some lines of Dexters being wild. I am also interested to know why long legged Dexters are not a good choice for dual purpose (milking).

    I'm not sure that I want to milk long term, but I'd like to give it a try.

    There is a nice Dex heifer, 8 months old, from a reputable breeder for $1200 who is halter broke, tested chondroplasia free, and long legged. Her owner milks, so I thought she could be suitable...

    We are also going to look at some locally, but I don't know anything about them yet. How can I tell if they are going to be wild or not?? Can I post pictures and get some feedback on the local ones? I don't know bippity about selecting a good Dexter, or how to tell if a breeder is reputable.

    Got advice about Dexters? Please post it, I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks,
    Michelle
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2008
  2. steffpeck

    steffpeck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2007
    Erda, UT
    sWe have 2 Dexter, 1 Cow that is Short legged and 1 Bull that is long legged. I have never heard about the "wild" line. I do know that the Dexter is the smallest full sized cow breed there is. They have not been bred to be miniature, they are just naturally small. I actually heard that long legged Dexters are easier to milk, and seeing how short our Cow is, I can see why a long legged would be easier to milk. We LOVE our Dexter!! In fact we are looking into purchasing 6-7 more heifers/cows in the next few months. I would be happy to look at pictures or help in any way I can.

    Steff
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2008
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Ideal cow for a smallholder and the meat is held in high regard. As far as milking goes, you will probably find it easier in the long run to get into goat milking than any cow. The big thing with Dexters, of course, is the chondroplasia chondroplasia (bulldog calf). But since they have a genetic test now, and your prospect is confirmed free, I'd say go for it!
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Get out in the field with them. Do they shy away from you? Are they easily startled by simple movements? Will they allow you to walk up beside them without running off? Can they be petted and scratched? Are you able to get your hand down to the udder without issue? Do they lead well on halter for you?

    If you are looking for a future milk cow hopefully you come away being able to answer yes to all of these. By 8 months there is a definate weight advantage, heifer to human, and they know how to use it. This can be disastrous for those not experienced with cows in general.

    Either the heifer is manageable enough for you, or isn't, is what it comes down to. Unless you have some one who can help work out small kinks and has experience training dairy animals.

    Ask for references. People who have purchased with the intent to milk! These are the folks that will be able to tell you about the temperment of the cows in the breeding line. References from those buying dexters to breed for beef will not generally be able to give you the same depth of information on temperment.

    No matter how good the breeders reputation is, base your final decision on the animal itself and how the other animals appear to be treated and cared for on the farm. I broke my own rule here once and ended up with the dexter from ______!

    Post some pics and I am sure there are lots of experienced folks here willing to give their opinions.
     
  5. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Thanks everyone - I will post an update and pix after this weekend (if there are any good ones).

    I am really torn about whether to try a dairy goat first or small cows. We have 160 acres of mostly dryland pinon/juniper. Each 40 ac. parcel has a stream on it, so there is some forage, just not very much. One of the big advantages to a goat is that I think we'd be OK with just one, and it would be happy following the horses around.

    KStaven, after reading your Dexter experience, I understand that having just one cow is not an option...

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    You certainly need two goats, not one. As far as cows, I think you can get away with one.
     
  7. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aren't single goats often kept as companion animals for horses???

    There used to be a cute pack of animals nearby - a horse, a goat, a llama, and a big dog that used to go out on a sunny hillside and nap together.

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Personally I would never keep a cow or goat as a single.

    It was an experience meesh. To this day I have still not received the calf she was ripped away from nor compensation for it. Some of the problem could have been avoided if she was shipped with calf as agreed upon. Needless to say she would have never made a milker though. She has battered my Jerseys and just about killed my buck. Tried to trample several people also.

    I recently had the distinct displeasure of visiting the people whose breeding line she originally came from. I can now safely say the attitude is genetic and not just a fluke. Sad they are so well placed and noted in the dexter community in canada because what they are breeding is anything but the typical calm placid dexter. Their cattles conformation is great but that is where it ends.
     
  9. wynedot55

    wynedot55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2007
    yes cattle can get their temperment from their genetics.a bad bloodline will ruin you in any breed.i dont care what breed it is or how there treated.if the bloodline is bad theyll be bad.
     
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    No arguments on that one wynedot55! That is why this one is destined for the freezer and will NEVER be bred.

    In every breed of animal out there, you find those that breed for the betterment and love of the breed and those who breed for the status they assume it gives them and the money.

    In the U.S. dexter stock I have seen I would have to say most fall in the love of the breed category. In Canada it seems to be a 60/40 split.

    Dexters are a good choice over many other breeds. They remind me of a goat in many ways because of their foraging capabilities. A dexter or highland will thrive in many areas where a holstein or many other breeds would starve to death.
     

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