Dexters - Good Browsers?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Kablam, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Kablam

    Kablam New Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    We are considering getting a couple of Dexters for the primary purpose of maintaining (keeping down the growth) in the three acre pasture which is part of our family homeplace. The property is located in the foothills of the Appalachians and has some steep (mountainous) portions.

    The pasture was rented for horses until a few years ago, and since then, the woods have been creeping into the patures despite occaisionaly bushhogging.

    Our thinking is that the Dexters could keep the pasture in shape and provide a bit of entertainment while letting us learn about cattle. Since we are cattle novices, the smaller breed has a great deal of appeal.

    Our only concern is that we have read that the Dexters are not as aggresive browsers as some other breeds. Clearly, for our purpose, a breed with aggresive browsing habits (as opposed to just grass grazing) is very important.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. shelbynteg

    shelbynteg Well-Known Member

    Jul 31, 2003
    Beasley, Tx
    I don't know about the Dexter's browsing capabilities, but my immediate thought was, why not throw a few goats in there? Then get whatever cattle breed you desire. Goats and cattle don't compete, particularly if there is good browse available. Goats will typically clean out and improve the grass in the pasture, because they'll eat all the competition.


  3. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Aug 10, 2003
    Alberta, Canada
    Dexters aren't known to be browsers and if you need a breed known for browsing, you should probably consider longhorns or highland cattle or goats.
  4. Well, I guess it may depend on what you want them to eat! Mine will eat maple trees, apple trees, they sometimes head for the trees first before the grass!! They even eat at the cherry,They eat all sorts of small brush stuff, I don't know what it is, but it's like a weed that goes very woody. Some stuff they just use to scratch on with their horns and they end up killing it. I'd think they'd do a great job for you, there are things they won't eat just like any other cows. Mine have done a good job for us.

    Carol K
  5. I also chose Dexters to get started with cows, and im very glad i did.THey do seem to eat tree leaves better than weeds in the pasture.Mine always create a nice shady spot to get out of the sun along the tree line.
  6. All I'd read about Dexters before buying them said that they were excellent browsers. They were right! The woods were so thick with honeysuckle and poison ivy that you couldn't even walk through. Now, after 7 months, it looks like a park.

    8 Dexters and 6 goats did the job. The Dexters would often be in the woods, crunching away, while the goats were on the pasture.

    My neighbor re-ran his fence to let his Angus get into the woods, but they don't seem to like it. His woods need my Dexters to clean them up.

    Paradise Farm
  7. When I first got my dexters I lived in a location where I had lots of Alder trees and Blackberrys. My Dexters stripped ever leaf of both. Now I live in North ID and I have Hothorn trees and Pine trees around our place. Even though they have grass up to their knees they will sit there and pick all the leaves of the Hothorn's and off the pine trees as far as they can reach.......