The Dexter cattle originated in Ireland. The first recorded importation of Dexters to America lists more than two hundred cattle arriving between 1905 and 1915. These original Dexter herds have grown to include Dexters in nearly every state in America. As one of the last tri-purpose cattle breeds in the world, Dexters continue to produce excellent beef, milk, and draft animals for American farms and ranches today.
Dexters are hardy, sturdy cattle that are sure-footed on almost any terrain. They thrive on quality pasture or hay, but are also efficient foragers and aggressive browsers, helping to clear brushy, weedy areas when given access to them. Because of their small size and thriftiness, they require less pasture space than large breed cattle and are easier on the land and fences. With so many benefits, Dexters make good sense for the small family farm as well as large ranching operations.
Dexters come in 3 colors: black, red, and dun. Solid colors, with occasional white on udders and/or behind the umbilicus, are the norm. Excessive white on the body, pervasive spotting, or brindling are not considered optimal.
Dexters are originally a horned breed, with beautiful, sweeping, mid-sized horns that are white with black tips. Some owners of horned Dexters choose to leave the horns intact while others choose to dehorn them. Dexters can also be polled, passing-on this hornless characteristic to their offspring.
Dexters are a naturally small cattle breed, but they are not “miniature cattle.” Since Dexter cows often continue to grow until 3 years of age and bulls can continue to grow up to 5 years of age, an animal’s mature size can take several years to ascertain. Typical size ranges in Dexters can vary between and within the populations of chondrodysplasia carriers and non-carriers. Cows mature between 36 and 42 inches at the shoulder and not more than 750 pounds. Bulls mature between 38 and 44 inches at the shoulder and not more than 1000 pounds. (Some information from ADCA. https://dextercattle.org)
We were attracted to this breed due to the bulls being more even tempered as well as the size being smaller and less intimidating. Dexters require less pasture for grazing making them great for a hobby farm and or small acreage. But this is not the main reason we chose to breed Dexters. Dexters have a high fertility rate and are great mothers. It is rare that Dexter cattle have difficulty and or need help with deliver and or during their pregnancy. The mother cows are nurturing and less likely to abandon their calf. We also love the quality of beef and milk and the health benefits of each. See beef and milk sections for more information.
The most delicious part of why we chose to raise dexter cattle is for the well marbled, tender, packed with Omega 3, flavorful meat. Even though the Dexter is smaller in stature, they yield
well above 56% kill out weight. This is due to a good ratio of meat to waste products like fat and bone. If one choses to keep bones and organs take home amount is even greater.
Dexters produce a rich milk, relatively high in butterfat (4%). The cream can be skimmed off and used for butter and ice cream. The milk is sweet and rich even after the cream is removed and can be used to make excellent cheese or cottage cheese. milk can come in both A1 and or A2. Why does this matter?
The portion in the milk is different
When the body tries to breakdown casein in A1 milk, a chemical component called BCM-7 is released, which is the reason for morphine-like effects on the Central Nervous system. BCM-7 causes addiction towards milk. A1 milk consumed all the time has been found to cause neurological disorders such as cognition, aggravate symptoms of autism because of morphine-like compound. Other conditions include constipation, allergic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic cough, asthma, and greater risk of obesity and diabetes.
A2 beta casen is milk protein produced in human breast milk and has colostrum like human breast milk. If human mother is unable to produce milk or want alternative option to breastfeed her child, she can use A2 milk. Naturally easier to digest, enhances body immunity, increases brain power, high in omega 3, has been found to cure irritable bowel symptoms as well as prevent migraine headaches, asthma, joint pain, thyroid, acidity, and cancer by consuming of A2 milk.
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