I was trying to figure out what I could raise on such a small farm besides the normal chickens, rabbits and pygmy goats. I do not want a bunch of hogs to worry about. One or two meat hogs are ok but any more than that and I create fencing and odor problems. So I figured why not Miniature Cattle?
Mostly kept as a hobby and only measuring under 42" tall, miniatures do have many advantages;
Small efficient beef for “backyard beef”.
Good pets to keep on small acreages as little as 1/2 acre.
Use to qualify property for agriculture use status.
Use for investment groups.
Great for 4H or FFA projects.
Good potential to develop a gourmet meat market.
- Most breeds eat 1/3 the food of large breeds.
- Not as harsh on the land and the fencing.
The cows are about 3½ feet tall, and average weight range is 650-750 lbs. The calves have a birth weight of around 57 lbs and at weaning the average weight is 375 lbs. The advantages of this breed are the smaller cuts of meat, the higher stocking rate per acre, high feed conversion rates, less damage to pasture, especially on wet soils, easy calving, and excellent weight gains.
Dexters are a hardy breed of small mountain cattle, originally derived from the Celtic cattle of ancient Ireland. They are the smallest British breed of cattle with a cow being from 36 inches to just over a 42 inches at the shoulder. An average cow weighs about 775 lbs. The coat is usually black, but it can be red or dun brown.
They are very hardy, requiring no pampering, yet remain efficient converters of feed to meat. Like most small breeds, they require only half the space a conventional animal would take.
Pasture fed animals can finished early, at 18 to 24 months and 775lds liveweight, without supplementary feeds, and still have good marbling and meat flavor. Heifers are precocious, and can be mated at 15 to 18 months. The Dexter is noted for easy calving, and the breed is known for the long useful breeding life of the cows - up to fourteen years, sometimes more.
Miniature Zebu (Brahma cattle) are still extremely rare (about 750 purebred animals in USA). The advantage of the miniature zebu is that that are better adapted to heat than most European breeds.
The maximum allowable height is just over 42 inches behind the hump.
These attractive little cattle stand just under 40 inches at the shoulder in a mature bull. They are horned cattle, which after all, is one of their breed features. The horn span can very from 30" to 50" wide.
This is just to name a few of the breeds I have been researching and noticed a popularity trend among them.
I have found that even though miniature cattle are small in size, the price tags for these little grass eaters made my heart skip a beat. It seams the smaller the cow is, the more it costs. I am leaning toward the Dexter breed due to their hardiness, easy calving and of course the cost.