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Hello, new mini cattle rancher here!

Smallfryranch

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Hello everyone, this is my first post. I am looking into beginning a ranch for miniature cattle. I have decided on the Dexter breed. I have plenty of land, but not enough for full-size cattle. I have several questions. Do you have to grain feed them, or can they just eat grass? What kind of shelter would they need? What veterinary care is needed? This breed is supposed to be around 40" high and between 750 lbs and 1000 lbs as adults. Would they need a livestock guardian dog, like a Great Pyrenees? What equipment would I need? Any information at all would be very helpful. :help:
 

hillsdown

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Do alot of reading and talking to people in your area that raise beef. Storeys guide to raising beef is a good one. Visit your local LA vet and sit and listen and learn. Make sure you know and are prepared before the first bovine steps foot on your place.

:welcome:
 

djinwa

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How much is "plenty of land"? I understand no room for standard breeds if only a couple acres, but more than that could support them. You only need 2 of them to have a herd.

What is your purpose in raising them? If beef is the goal, and you must have small cattle, you might consider lowline angus which are meatier and no messing with horns.

Dexters are advertised as dual-purpose (milk and meat), but I understand most of them don't give much milk, and then don't have the most meat. More of a pet or novelty item, that gives you some return. Which is fine if that's what the market is.
 

3waycross

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I have a friend who bought a Dexter cow a couple of years ago to start an operation like you describe. I asked him the other day how that was going. He said he would like to sell that same Dexter cow if I could bring a horse and rope her so that he could get her caught. Now he's a real tough fella and he couldn't wait to get out of the miniture cow business.

Good luck. You had better define EXACTLY waht you intend to accomplish and get all the help you can.
 

Bez+

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Smallfryranch":1cf49i7o said:
Hello everyone, this is my first post. I am looking into beginning a ranch for miniature cattle. I have decided on the Dexter breed. I have plenty of land, but not enough for full-size cattle. I have several questions. Do you have to grain feed them, or can they just eat grass? What kind of shelter would they need? What veterinary care is needed? This breed is supposed to be around 40" high and between 750 lbs and 1000 lbs as adults. Would they need a livestock guardian dog, like a Great Pyrenees? What equipment would I need? Any information at all would be very helpful. :help:

I am not going to pass along any advice - other than it ain't the bed of roses most think it is.

Best of luck to you

Bez+
 

Smallfryranch

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I actually have 2 acres. Is there another dual purpose breed other than Dexter? I had read in several places that they can produce up to 2-3 gallons of milk per day, and have a lot more meat and less waste than other breeds, which is why I chose them. What breed would you reccomend?
 

dun

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Get a couple of dairy goats and buy beef from a friend that raises beef cattle
 

cypressfarms

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dun":qomgkkd8 said:
Get a couple of dairy goats and buy beef from a friend that raises beef cattle


I would agree with Dun. 2 acres is not enough for any amount of cattle. If you must have livestock, then sheep, goats, or other small animals would be the way to go. Welcome, however! :tiphat:
 

cypressfarms

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Sorry, I realized that no one has answered your questions, here's my attempt - but beware of experts like me giving advice, you never know who's cowboy hat is just for show :cboy:


Smallfryranch":s7twzcao said:
Hello everyone, this is my first post. I am looking into beginning a ranch for miniature cattle. I have decided on the Dexter breed. I have plenty of land, but not enough for full-size cattle. I have several questions. Do you have to grain feed them, or can they just eat grass?

They can eat grass alone, but you need to provide them with "cattle" minerals, and you will need to provide them with hay in the winter when the pastures go dormant. If you have dairy cattle, then they will require more forage/feed while they are lactating - you may need to feed in this scenario if you only have 2 acres. The amount you give in "feed" will greatly reduce your chances of making a profit, unless you have some specialized market.

Smallfryranch":s7twzcao said:
What kind of shelter would they need?

If you have trees on your place, they can do with just that (keeps them cool in the summer), although if you have particularly harsh winters a three sided "shed" will help them a lot.

Smallfryranch":s7twzcao said:
What veterinary care is needed?
Cattle should be "worked" regularly - most people in my parts work twice per year. They get combo vaccines and worming. You can find plenty of info on this from your local university, and it will be more specific to your area.

Smallfryranch":s7twzcao said:
This breed is supposed to be around 40" high and between 750 lbs and 1000 lbs as adults. Would they need a livestock guardian dog, like a Great Pyrenees?
No, they won't "need" a guardian dog, but you may enjoy the company of a great pyrenees :)



Smallfryranch":s7twzcao said:
What equipment would I need? Any information at all would be very helpful.
Don't fall into the trap of buying a bunch of nice new equipment - you can do without it. About the only thing that you might need would be a head gate of some sort, so that you can restrain the cattle to work them. Everything else can be manually done.
 

Smallfryranch

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Thank you very much, Cypressfarms! I know that the adults would not need a guardian dog, I was thinking about new calves. We have plenty of trees, and our winters never get below 20 degrees. Would that be considered a "harsh" winter? I am VERY releived that I will not need all of the shiny, pretty, extremely overpriced equipment. That was a typo when I said I only have 2 acres. I actually have 4. Would that be enough for mini cows? If we were not going to Dexters, than we will have to choose between a milk breed and a meat breed. Which one is more profitable? I know that lowline angus is good for beef, but what is the best breed(s) for milk? :) :help:
 

Frankie

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Smallfryranch":1drn7r2f said:
Thank you very much, Cypressfarms! I know that the adults would not need a guardian dog, I was thinking about new calves. We have plenty of trees, and our winters never get below 20 degrees. Would that be considered a "harsh" winter? I am VERY releived that I will not need all of the shiny, pretty, extremely overpriced equipment. That was a typo when I said I only have 2 acres. I actually have 4. Would that be enough for mini cows? If we were not going to Dexters, than we will have to choose between a milk breed and a meat breed. Which one is more profitable? I know that lowline angus is good for beef, but what is the best breed(s) for milk? :) :help:

Check with your local extension service and see how many cows they recommend on your acreage. There's just too much variation in climate and forage type for an internet group to make that kind of recommendation.

What are you going to do with the animals to make a profit? Sell meat? Sell milk? Or is it all for your own consumption? Here's a link to a Homesteading group. There seems to be Dexter breeders there. You might get more info from them, but remember that they might also be trying to "sell" their breed. Good luck....

http://homesteadingtoday.com/forumdisplay.php?f=28
 

chippie

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smallfryranch: about Dexter cattle... This breed is supposed to be around 40" high and between 750 lbs and 1000 lbs as adults.

Is that true? The heaviest Dexter that I have seen would have been lucky to weigh 500 lbs. We freeze branded a small herd and although they were short, there wasn't much to them. They were not poor either.

smallfryranch -- How many cattle are you considering for your 4 acres?
 

Smallfryranch

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I just saw the approximate size on a few websites. I was planning on selling both meat and milk, which is why I wanted the Dexter breed. I did not know how many cattle I would need to start. I am in the piedmont area of NC.
 

cypressfarms

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Smallfryranch":16sq23ja said:
Thank you very much, Cypressfarms! I know that the adults would not need a guardian dog, I was thinking about new calves. We have plenty of trees, and our winters never get below 20 degrees. Would that be considered a "harsh" winter? I am VERY releived that I will not need all of the shiny, pretty, extremely overpriced equipment. That was a typo when I said I only have 2 acres. I actually have 4. Would that be enough for mini cows? If we were not going to Dexters, than we will have to choose between a milk breed and a meat breed. Which one is more profitable? I know that lowline angus is good for beef, but what is the best breed(s) for milk? :) :help:


No the new calves won't need a guardian either. Nope, that's not a harsh winter (never getting below 20 degrees)

4 acres is still a very small amount. To give you an idea, where I am we normally stock 1 cow/calf for every 2 acres you have. I'm not saying it can't be done on 4 acres, but it will be a challenge. Profitability all depends on what type of market your after. Frankie posted a homesteader website. There are some people who sell raw milk for $10 - $15 per gallon. If this is what your after, I would get a miniature Jersey for that amount of land.
 

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