Dexter's vs. Angus

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by georgiarebel, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. georgiarebel

    georgiarebel Well-Known Member

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    I've got a small homestead (10acres) that's my little slice of heaven. Want to fully immerse myself into the country lifestyle by raising a few cattle. We've got the property fenced and have been researching breeds of cattle that would work best for small acreage. From what I've read about Dexter's they seem to work best, but I've had a hard locating them in my area (Georgia). I've also read more Dexter's can be kept per acre than other cattle. Due to not being able to find any I've just about changed my mind on Dexter's, and decided to go with the more prevalent cattle in my area being Angus. Is this a smart move for me, or should I keep searching. How many Angus can I keep per acre compared to Dexter's? Any info on how I should start my herd is greatly appreciated!

    Thanks,

    GR
     
  2. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    A tip on finding Dexter's:

    Go to www.dextercattle.org
    Go to the online pedigree page. Enter your state in the search engine. 84 registered Dexter's turned up for Georgia. Under each of those animals is the name of the owner and breeder. Many have e-mail address listed as well as a phone number. Most people I have run across have been very willing to talk to you about their cattle. If you are willing to travel a bit try punching in surrounding states.

    Another great place to talk to people about Dexters is"
    www.dakodan.net/dexters.forum

    I am just getting into these great little cattle. I put a deposit on my first cow a few weeks ago and she was bred this last week. I will be getting her in August. I have met some really wonderful people online who are very passionate about this little breed. I do have a little Angus bottle calf. He is very squirrelly!!! We have tried to get him halter broke, but he just dances around, steps on my feet, is hard to approach in the pasture, etc. I know my one little calf doesn't make me an expert, but from what I have learned about Dexter's is they are alot calmer and friendlier.

    Good luck on your endeavor. I hear you about the little slice of heaven. :angel:
     

  3. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    We've had Dexters for about 4 years now. My husband and I have also had dairy cows and regular beef breeds for most of our lives. We like the Dexters. They are very calm, easy calving, do well on marginal pasture, few health probs., etc., but there are some downsides to raising them that we never hear discussed. First, the bulls aren't worth much unless you are dealing with a really popular line. The cows and heifers bring much more than bulls. If you are breeding to sell, the low value of the bulls brings down your bottom line. With regular cows you can just drop the young bulls off at the sale barn and get a good price for them. If you take Dexter bulls to the sale barn you get almost nothing for them because people have no idea what they are. They think they are just some kind of weird stunted cow. This goes for selling cows and heifers too. Can't sell them through regular channels. To sell them you have to be willing to do some marketing - advertise on the boards, in the assoc. newsletters, etc., and be willing to spend a lot of time speaking with/emailing lots of potential buyers, most of whom end up not buying your cows. It can be very time consuming and frustrating - at least for us, as we are both about as far from the salesman type personality as you can get.
    Even if you are just planning to keep a couple of cows for milk and meat, eventually you will have to sell something unless you plan to butcher heifers as well as bulls. That's tough to do when a heifer/cow is easily worth $1000. Again, if you raise regular beef cows you will get a good price for them at the sale barn with no effort. You don't get as good a price for regular dairy cows at the barn because people assume they are sick or something is wrong with them if you're selling them there. But they are pretty easy to sell by just putting an ad in your local paper.
    You could market young bulls/steers to the public as grassfed beef, but that involves a lot of effort too.
    I guess it just depends on your personality as to whether Dexters would be a good breed for you.
    DH just came in to see what I was doing, read this post and said to tell you that Dexters make good hobby cows, terrible commercial cows.
    I don't mean to be negative about them, we really do like the cows themselves, they are near the top of our list as far as that goes. They just present a marketing problem for us because we hate doing that stuff.
    Something to keep in mind if you do end up going with regular cows - black cows or black white-faced cows (translate angus or angus/hereford cross) always bring more at the sale barn.
    As to how many cows/acre, it's better to ask around locally as conditions vary so much. Even then it depends on the quality of your particular pasture.
     
  4. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Try the sites that Hovey gave you, you can find people on the online pedigree for your State just like Hovey says that should be able to help you. Don't give up on the Dexters, I'm sure you would regret it, they are great cows for the homesteader. If you still come to a dead end then email me, I'll find you something for sure :)

    Carol K
     
  5. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Carol K is one of the many very very helpful people on the forum I mentioned.
    Hi Carol!!!
     
  6. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Yes Carol is one of the nicest people here!! I definitely had to second that!! And I also have to go with the Dexters. I have raised reg. angus and dexters within the past two years. I prefer the dexters which I now raise. In fact, they are extremely addicting and I intend to buy another bred cow in February. For a strictly large beef breed the angus would be on the bottom of my list. They were small framed and slow growing. At a year old the bull calves would weigh in at 500-600 lbs. I sold a three year old cow that weighed 800 lbs. This dexter bull calf I have is 6 wks old and weighs 225 lbs. He is going in the freezer. They also make a great milk cow. His mother weighs 550 lbs and gives about 4 gallons a day if I milked her completely out. As far as running bull calves thru the sale, you just need to run them thru at an early age so that people just think they are young angus or something. However, I have not heard of anyone having problems selling their dexter bulls to individuals. I have already had two people ask me about the bottlefed bull calf I intend to sell and I haven't even advertised him.
     
  7. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Oh and angus are generally one to 1-1.5 acres of good pasture. Dexters are two per acre.
     
  8. georgiarebel

    georgiarebel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone for the info and advice. It warms the heart to know there are still others willing to help a stranger out. Yall have restored my faith in Dexter's. They should work fine for what we need to provide meat for the family, and sell a few on the side. We should be able to manage a half a dozen on the acreage we have now. We've got access to another 10, but would like to get our feet wet first.

    If anyone should hear of a breeder selling Dexter's in the Southeast please drop us a line. Also seeking any advice on how we should start our herd (Cow/calf, Three for one, Cow to Bull ratio).

    All of our knowledge so far is from books so please forgive our ignorance. We've got to start some where and its a blessing to have such a knowledge base to turn to such as this.

    Thanks,
    GR
     
  9. Richard ~

    Richard ~ Member

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  10. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    A bred cow is probably your best and cheapest way to start. I started with a cow/calf pair, a heifer calf, and a bull calf. The bull calf will be up for sale and I am replacing him with an unrelated bull calf. If you get a young bull calf you can start with just one or two cows. Make sure you have good fences if there are neighboring bulls. Dexters can have difficult births sometimes die calving if they are bred by something other than a Dexter bull. I was told even if they were bred by an angus bull it can still cause them to die or lose their calf. Just a word of warning.
     
  11. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    Hovey1716, I love that search area for dexters. :rock:

    I ran a quick search for Michigan and it looks like John Potter is the Ruler Supreme for the area. Does anyone have any information on his Dexters?

    Didn't mean to hijack the thread.
     
  12. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Hi Guys, small world huh!!

    Pointer, John Potter is The American Dexter Cattle Societys genetics guy and is a wonderful source of information on Dexters in general. His cattle are very nice and you wouldn't go wrong buying from John. That ADCA online pedigree search is an awesome tool Isn't it.

    GR, starting with a couple of bred cows or even a couple of heifer calves will be a good start. You can learn from the calves, train and do that bonding thing! If you start with older cows, buy halter trained if you can. There's nothing worse than not being able to get near your cows if they are not tame and you are new to them.
    Post a wanted add on the dakodan site and see if you get some leads.

    Carol
     
  13. Richard ~

    Richard ~ Member

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    pointer_hunter,

    Keep in mind that an online pedigree is a recording and so animals and in some cases breeders listed may now be deceased. It's probably better to use a breed association's membership listing in searching for cattle currently available.

    I used to own a Potter bull and experienced some dystocia problems but the bull did have an exceptionally good temperament.

    Homesteaders on the west coast thinking about getting started with Dexters might find the basic workshop, Friday, July 15th, in Orland, CA, to be helpful. Information about the various cattle educational programs can be found on the PDCA website under 2005 AGM & Show.

    Richard ~
     
  14. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    I have a cow that was bred and raised by John Potter. She is the one that gives 4 gallons a day. She is an exceptional cow!! She has a very slick coat, nice muscling, throws awesome calves!! The bred cow I intend to buy next spring will be AIed by Cinnabar which is one of Potter's red bulls.
     
  15. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    The ADCA online registry is superb to look up animals and do pedigree research, you can use it for so many things. Keep in mind that Richard is from a splinter Dexter group, so he may be being political, which is sure not needed here.

    Like I said, if you need further help finding stock, let us know.

    Carol
     
  16. Richard ~

    Richard ~ Member

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    Carol K,

    I realize that since the ADCA split apart that you see everything as political in trying to promote what that organization became but actually I was thinking of someone asking for Paul who passed away several years ago and his wife Linda having to explain that he died and that they no longer have Dexters. So my thought was of not bothering a widow or someone that may no longer be breeding Dexters by using a progeny tracking system. Rosemary has organized an online Dexter pedigree for the PDCA just as she did for the ADCA and I'll tell everyone the same that its use is for tracking Dexter progeny and not current members. If someone contacts the PDCA they are sent an information packet along with a current membership list. This is the way the PDCA helps to put buyers and sellers together but if the ADCA uses their online pedigree for this then I apologize for not recognizing that's how the ADCA now handles inquiries. I believe that it's important for someone starting out to gather as much information about a breed they're interested in as possible. The fact is there are two Dexter cattle associations in America and even if this goes against your political inclinations Carol, you can't try to stifle this information by making political accusations on every board. I've been promoting Dexters for the past 16 years and will be for the next 16 years god willing. So get used to me being around, although not on the Dakodan board that you moderate. :) Let the people here gather ALL the information in making their choices and in finding their cattle regardless of your politics.

    Richard ~
     
  17. Carol K

    Carol K Well-Known Member

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    Richard, Hovey tried to help a potential newcomer find Dexters by telling them to use the ADCA online registry for their State to get the names of some breeders in their area. You just did the usual stuff you generally do to try and promote your Dexter association by putting the other one down. No one said that is how the ADCA "handles their enquiries" that's just you looking to play your silly political games again.
    Richard, I don't have a problem letting anyone know that I help Moderate the Dakodan site, It's a great place for Dexter information, there are many PDCA members that go there, so what's your problem? I notice you didn't tell people that YOU are second Vice President of the PDCA either, hmmm. It's a free world on the internet Richard, promote away to your hearts content, people will make their own choices in the long run.

    Carol
     
  18. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Oh please, not here too!!!!!!!!
    We've had a major bru-ha-ha over in the poultry forum in the last couple of days. Please can't we all be friends? (or at least friendly?)
    Thanks,
    Deedra
     
  19. Richard ~

    Richard ~ Member

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    Carol,

    Perhaps Hovey wasn't aware that there's a membership listing of Dexter breeders by state on both association websites. Surely even you can see that using an online pedigree which is inclusive of animals and breeders that may or may not any longer be with the association could be considered deceptive and less helpful in locating Dexters than a current membership listing. If being honest is considered a put down of your association then so be it.

    I never flaunt my title because I know that eventually you will Carol. ;) Certainly it should be obvious to people that I promote and support the PDCA and not the ADCA. This perhaps was more bothersome to you than my suggesting that a membership listing may be a more appropriate means to search for Dexter breeders than a progeny tracking system. Maybe instead of turning this into a PDCA versus ADCA for Hovey's sake you should pick on Angus. :)

    Richard ~
     
  20. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    I'm sorry, I should have mentioned the membership list instead of the pedigree search. I'm not an expert and I should have just kept my mouth shut. I don't even have my first Dexter yet. I'm getting her in August. I shouldn't be giving other people advise.
    Just please don't fight.
    Thanks,
    Deedra