miniature breeds - any experience?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by silvergirl, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. silvergirl

    silvergirl Well-Known Member

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    We have been looking through some of our catalogues and magazines and seeing adds for miniature breeds of cattle - panda cattle and one other small type I can not remember the name of - we will have very little space for a cow even when we do buy more land, (unless something changes!) and are wondering if mini-breeds might be the way to go... Has anyone any experience with these? Do they produce good quality milk in any kind of reasonable quantity and how is the beef? Are they prohibitively expensive to use as regular livestock?
    Silvergirl
     
  2. Sher

    Sher Well-Known Member

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    Hi! Well..they're not minis .. but they are SHORT cattle...lol! Dexters...we are simply in love with ours. They are a dual purpose cow, so can be used for meat and/or milk.

    Go to www.dextercattle.org and take a look! They are absolutely the answer for us. Can raise more of them on an acre or two than regular sized cattle. They are pretty docile. They calve easy and are easy on the pastures.

    I AM tunnel visioned with my Dexters!
     

  3. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I would rather see you invest in a smaller breed, like the dexters or highland cattle than to see you invest in some of the designer breeds. The minis are very expensive (or any that I've found) and that makes the intended use of cattle a bit cost prohibitive. I've found that they tend to be sold with the intention that you will 'join the gang' and sell broodstock to other people who think they're cute. I don't feel that they have been proven and with a limited gene pool to draw from, I forsee genetic problems arising in the future. Resale on things like this is always a crap shoot, if you sell while the market is hot, you'll likely make money but if you look at other 'fads' you'll see someone made a lot of money and others lost their shirts. Another thing you need to consider is the circle sell that a lot of these breed associations do. They are keeping their prices artificially high because they sell to fellow breeder/breed association members so to outsiders it looks like they sell expensive but in reality, nothing is really going anywhere. If I was going to consider a mini, I'd wait a few more years but in the meantime, I'd look at the Dexters, Highlands and a few lowline breeds that are naturally smaller but not at something faddish or unnaturally small.
     
  4. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This mini-cattle fad is yet another sucker hustle. Most of these cattle are based on Dexters crossed with other breeds to bring down the size. In spite of the fancy names and "registeries" these are nothing but cross bred mongrel cattle. Think emu, pot bellied pig, alpaca, etc.
     
  5. brent buchanan

    brent buchanan Member

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    Yes, we own some miniature cattle. I spent much time researching the miniature cow business and found out right away who I could trust. I am aware of the previous exotic markets that far from lived up to their expectations. I also remember some of the price tags that were attached to these animals. We have zebu and several zebu cross cows and some dexter cross :) on our little farm. We hope to some day to raise our cows to supply the meat we need. I must admit that it is currently not good business for my family to butcher our cows because the breeders market is high. Let's keep it in perspective. We do not buy minicows with high price tags nor do we sell them at what we think are unreasonable prices. I do not mind giving you an example, in fact we have two 4-month old heifer calves for sale on this messageboard. We are asking $1100.00 for the pair. I won't try to justify, but I think one must agree that if you check out the market this is very reasonable. Let me back up. Yes, many of these small cattle are cross breeds and please tell me what other animals are not crossed over and over again to get the desired traits you seek. The miniature cow is filling a need for those of us with small farms and little acreage. The internet is full of explanations of "why miniature cows" and I do not wish to copy or repeat, just share from our little bit of experience. Without a doubt small cows cause less damage to your soil, ponds, trees, barns etc. I can work these minis by myself when my wife is not around to help. We feed 7 cows, along with 12 sheep, 5 gallons of corn a day. These animals are on about 5 acres and so far are very healthy. We do provide large bales of hay through the winter and a few in the summer months. The pure joy of raising them has been a huge plus, too. The sweet little calves are beautiful, of course I think all calves are beautiful. Let me end by saying that I agree with your feelings about the exotic market and to be careful. We believe that miniature cows are here to stay and would love to see them flourish. One of the biggest drawbacks, as in any market or business, are those who live and play by a different set of rules and are only care about "number one".
     
  6. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Friend of mine has the miniature jerseys and really likes them. I think the cow peaks at 3 to four gallons a day, but averages about 2 gallons. She is fed pasture and a little grain in the stanchion. Did have trouble with milk fever, though. She has a bull, who is very sweet and gentle (which I guess is odd for jersey bulls), and a couple of offspring. She has them on three acres. Butchers the steers at 18mo or so.

    niki
     
  7. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a problem with the term ‘miniature’. So-called miniatures come in many sizes. I had a guy bring a “miniature Hereford” to me for breeding a couple years ago. I was thinking he’d be waist high (I’m 5’9”). He turned out to be 46” tall. I thought he’d kill the little heifer, but she grew enough by calving time and did fine.

    Anyway, in the Lowline angus breed (some call miniature angus), there are bulls from a little over 30” up to 50”, which is near standard angus size. Pharo cattle company talks about frame size and how people think some smaller frames are miniature.
    http://www.pharocattle.com/semensource.htm

    Comparing this to people, some ethnic groups are smaller than others, but you don’t call them miniatures.

    Many high-priced ‘miniatures’ are pets. Panda bear markings, etc. Yes they are high priced, but so is paying $500 for a 5 pound Pomeranian or whatever. Yes, to production people it sounds like a scam, but it’s a different world.

    You can get production small cattle for nearly reasonable prices by getting crossbreds. I have a 45” cow whose sire was a 43” lowline angus, and dam was a standard jersey (over 50”?) I am breeding her to a 46” lowline angus by AI, which is a cheaper way to get into small cattle. You could breed to a smaller bull, but I don’t want to get smaller than that.
     
  8. Shazza

    Shazza Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sorry this is totally off topic...but where do you live Brent? we have the same surname!!! :dance:
    Oh and we have Dexters too....love them to death. I must post piccies soon of all our new calves...gorgeous red heifers which are Redpoll Dexter crosses.
    Look like red poll but Dexter size. :)