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Considering cows - Dexters?
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Andrea



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 2260
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 4:17 pm    Post subject: Considering cows - Dexters?  Reply with quote    

I'd like to slowly transition from goats to cows, and have found a breeding pair of Dexters for sale not too far away. As a smaller breed they would seem not a bad choice for someone new to cows. Would you agree?

Are they as hardy a breed as the seller says they are? He claims they'll cope well with our temperature range (40 degrees tops, snow in winter) providing they have some shade.

As a complete cow numpty, what might I have forgotten to consider?

Pilsbury



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 5645
Location: East london/Essex
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Rob R is your man on this I think although others have dexters.
The meat is amazing.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 34031
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Two might not be enough. They will want a bigger herd and may go and find one.

Temperature wise, mine stayed fully outside all year round for a decade or so. Occassionally -20 up to high twenties, low thirties. Damp seemed to piss them off most. They hide under trees in the hot sun, but usually sat happily in the grass, just catching rays.

They do fit nicely in the freezer, and the meat is certainly good anywhere between 18 and 45 months old.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Considering cows - Dexters? Reply with quote    

Andrea wrote:
I'd like to slowly transition from goats to cows, and have found a breeding pair of Dexters for sale not too far away. As a smaller breed they would seem not a bad choice for someone new to cows. Would you agree?


No.

Andrea wrote:
Are they as hardy a breed as the seller says they are? He cls they'll cope well with our temperature range (40 degrees tops, snow in winter) providing they have some shade.


Yes.


I'm wondering what you mean by 'breeding pair'? ie a bull and a cow or a couple of breeding cows? If the former I'd advise against it on multiple levels. Cattle are social animals and need company and there are times when you'd need to separate the sexes, particularly when female calves get older.

It's a common misconception that Dexters are a beginners breed - they're not and many people find them too much to handle as a result. They are wonderful cattle, but you do need to be confident with them as they will take advantage otherwise. If the breeder is willing to help you make the transition to competent cow-keeper there's no reason not to start with Dexters but if you're on your own there are other breeds that will be easier to learn the ropes on. The size doesn't mean you can overpower them as much as they can outwit, and outrun you.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41978
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I'd have thought you'd be better off with a local breed really.

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sean wrote:
I'd have thought you'd be better off with a local breed really.


We don't really have one round here, though

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41978
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nana.

Andrea



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 2260
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

sean wrote:
I'd have thought you'd be better off with a local breed really.


These are local to me, which is a major consideration when the transport costs more than the animals.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 35875
Location: yes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 15 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

what rob and nick said.

even with expert tuition i found them a bit "interesting" compared to jersey girls which was my previous ,rather limited, moo experience.
a couple of them could be a bit stroppy and dexter steers are very protective of a mum and calf herd.

in some ways the highland steers i was also learning on were easier to handle ,although they were a bit bouncy and could easily flip one behind the knees with a long horn by accident they were easier to persuade to comply with simple stuff like moving and not moving etc etc .

ps as they said two is not enough.

Andrea



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 2260
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thanks, all of you, for guidance.

It's a male and a female, unrelated. The owner isn't too far away from me and seems very willing to assist, and we have a wonderful chap in the village who used to keep cows so I don't feel totally unsupported. As far as the size of the cow goes, I think I'm no more likely to be able to physically wrangle a Dexter than I would a larger breed. I was thinking of the less milk aspect, and the size of my existing building until I can extend.

There's a few wrinkles to check out, but I'm leaning towards going with these two if I can come up with the money. They're pretty much on my doorstep and the benefits of buying a couple of cows locally from someone who's willing to assist (and speaks English!) potentially outweighs other difficulties at the moment. They are also apparently used to goats.

Much though I'd like to buy a whole herd to keep each other company, or local traditional breeds, finances just simply don't allow it and I'd rather start somewhere than not at all.

The jury is still out though, as is the bank manager!

Thanks.

RichardW



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 8433
Location: Llyn Peninsular North Wales
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Get two females & borrow a male as needed.

Why pay all year for bull when they are only needed for a short time?

Andrea



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 2260
Location: Portugal
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

RichardW wrote:
Get two females & borrow a male as needed.

Why pay all year for bull when they are only needed for a short time?


Good logic, but I live in the back end of beyond with not another cow for miles. Have been through this with the goats and, transport and bureaucracy being what they are, find it far easier to keep my own.

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 2252

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

If you have enough land to build up a larger herd, go for it. But Richard is right about the bull, is there any chance of AI in the back of beyond?

crofter



Joined: 11 Feb 2007
Posts: 2252

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

IIRC John Seymour suggested a minimum of 12 cows before it is worth keeping your own bull. Probably more than that nowadays?

Rob R



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 31902
Location: York
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 15 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

crofter wrote:
IIRC John Seymour suggested a minimum of 12 cows before it is worth keeping your own bull. Probably more than that nowadays?


*Puts pedantic hat on* Probably not worth keeping them at all these days.

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