The Dexter originated in the South Western region of Ireland where they were originally kept by small landholders and known as the “poorman’s cow”. Like the Kerry, they are descended from the predominately black cattle of the early Celts. The frequently heard theory that the Dexter are a comparatively new breed is a complete fallacy as the breed is fully described and mentioned by its proper name, in a report on Irish cattle written in 1845, by Mr David Low.


If you were around back then, you’ll remember that we bought a bred, dry cow and ended up bringing home an open, lactating one! If that isn’t head first, I don’t know what is! Learning to milk was the easy part of our crash course into Family Cow 101. The real trouble was how to get her bred! Dexters aren’t quite as easy to find and so we did the only logical thing… really it was crazy… we went back and bought the bull! Yes, the bull. Approximately three seconds after we bought the cow. Ok, so it was more like a couple of days. The point being, we still had no idea what we were doing!

Dexters have established themselves well in many parts of the world. They have been exported to Australia, New Zealand, America, Britain, Cuba, Argentina, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Italy, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. Several of these countries have their own breed societies, which only goes to show how well the breed has become established worldwide.

Characteristics Of A Dexter Cow

The Dexter breed is a small breed of cattle. It is a dual-purpose breed, with the average weight of a cow being some 300 – 350 Kg’s and standing 92cm – 107cm at the shoulder. There are two recognized types, short legged and non-short, both of which have their equal merits.

The breed comes in three colours, predominately black, but also red and dun. Most are horned although a very few naturally polled animals are becoming available.

Dexter cows are extremely maternal and because of their dual purpose qualities will milk well. Calving problems are rare and newly born calves are up on their feet very quickly with calves weighing 25-35 pounds at birth.

Features of A Dexter Cow

Dexters are:

  • Small
  • Hardy – Dexters are good browsers and were sometimes used to rid pastures of pest plants. They were specialised to live on low-quality vegetation and to forage for their food.
  • Efficient
  • Versatile
  • Intelligent
  • Full of personality – Dexters are also kept for pets too.
  • Multi-purpose breed
  • Great milk and beef
  • Easy calving – can also raise two calves at a time

Is Dexter Cow Meat Good?

 Dexter beef is lean and high in quality. The small size of the carcass makes the breed an excellent choice for use in direct marketing programs. Dexters are good browsers and can rid pastures of some pest plants, and they may also be used as oxen.

How Much Meat Do You Get From A Dexter Cow? 

“When a steer weighs 800 pounds, we get about 260-300 pounds of meat back (after being processed).” The milk is high in butterfat and protein, similar to Jersey milk.

How Many Acres Do You Need Per Dexter Cow? 

Care and requirements Dexters don’t require a lot of living space. One to two acres will suffice, and since they’re lighter, they won’t beat up the pasture as bad. That’s important, because you don’t want their main food source trampled down. “A lot of people are strictly grass feeding now,” Daggett says.

Do Cows Remember Your Face?

Cows have great memories and are very good at remembering and recognizing faces even after long periods of time. Cows also have good spatial memory. They can remember where things are located such as food, water, shelter, best grazing spots, and most importantly, the location of their babies.

Can I Raise A Cow On 1 Acre?

It is surprising how quickly a cow or two can eat down a small pasture. However, you will need to purchase hay to feed them because one acre is not enough land to support anything bovine. Cows can indeed be kept on small plots—an acre or two—but they must be fed.

What Does Dexter Meat Taste Like?

The taste test

The Japanese came up with the term umami, meaning savoury, and Dexter beef has that in spades. A big, beef flavour with a small amount of very tasty beef fat. Something you don’t get from the larger Continental breeds. There is also a tenderness without being too soft or mushy.

Are Dexter Cattle A Rare Breed?

Dexter cattle are the smallest breed available in the UK. Originating from Ireland in the 18th century, they are a dual purpose animal and were regarded as the ideal house cow for small tenant farmers. The beef produced is of excellent quality and the cuts are small in comparison to the larger breeds.

At What Age Do You Butcher A Dexter Cow?

With training, Dexter cows are gentle to milk. We butcher our beeves at 30 months old. This allows for their frames to be grown and filled out.

How Long Do Dexter Cows Grow?

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.

Are Dexter Cattle Easy To Keep?

Dexter cattle are easy to keep as they live on grass or hay when grass is scarce. Occasionally, they can be given a little grain or concentrate pellets at milking time as in incentive, especially if you are asking them to feed a calf as well.

How Much Hay Does A Dexter Cow Eat?

Easy and economical to keep, a Dexter consumes about half of what an Angus or Hereford would under the same conditions. A half acre of good green grass per animal, or 12 to 15 pounds of hay and a little grain each day is enough in temperate climates. The cattle are ideal for grazing on older or overgrown pastures.

How Much Milk Is In A Dexter?

Dexters kept as dairy cows will yield on average, 10 – 12 litres daily (3050 – 3660 litres per 305 day lactation), with some individuals yielding 14 litres or more (4080 litres per 305 day lactation).

Do Cows Fall In Love With Humans?

In conclusion, cows are highly intelligent, emotional and social creatures and can form strong bonds with humans as well as other animals. In these sanctuaries, cows can become very attached to their human friends, and often act more like dogs or puppies than cows!

Do Cows Miss Their Owners?

They Grieve for Their Loved Ones

Cows are extremely sensitive creatures, and show very obvious signs of grief when a loved one is taken away from them or they lose a member of their herd. Mother cows will cry for many hours after being separated from her baby, and will be in visible distress for a long time afterwards.

What Is The Easiest Cow To Raise?

Beef cattle are generally the most profitable and easiest livestock to raise for profit. Beef cattle simply require good pasture, supplemental hay during the winter, fresh water, vaccinations and plenty of room to roam.

Which Cow Gives The Richest Milk?

Jersey cows are excellent grazers, which definitely shows in their milk. Of all the dairy breeds, Jersey milk is the richest when it comes to butterfat (average 5%) and protein (3.8%), and our farmers get paid extra for that.

How Many Cows Can 1 Acre Support?

You may have heard a rule-of-thumb is that it takes 1.5 to 2 acres to feed a cow calf pair for 12 months. That means we should be able to have 10 to 13 cows. Let’s see how this rule-of-thumb holds up. It looks like our rule-of-thumb held up pretty good, 11 cows on 20 acres, is 1.8 acres per cow.

How Many Cows Can I Put On 5 Acres?

American average is 1.8 cows per acre, based on this count, about 8–10 cows could be raised on five acres. When I asked farmers about an estimate as to how many acres of pasture one cow needs, although their answers were different.

How Much Does A Farmer Make Per Cow?

The average net return favored the high-profit group as they exceeded the overall average by $96.51 per cow to finish the 11-year period with an annual profit of $152.42 per cow. When calculated over the 11 years, this amounts to an additional $1,061.61 of profit per cow.

What Cow Is Best For Meat?

Angus: This is the most popular breed of beef cattle. Their meat quality is excellent and they provide 50 percent of their weight in the meat. Highland Cattle: Though they are not as popular as they once were, they are still in demand by people who know love their meat.

Do Dexter Cattle Need Shelter?

7] shelter, Dexter’s need shelter from the heat of the day in summer and cold wind and rain in winter, this can be as simple as having a good stand of trees they can shelter under or as elaborate as your hay shed its up to you but they do have to have shelter.

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