There are 26 breeds of mini cattle and are all 42″ or less at maturity. They are often used for small-scale milk production, as pets, or for breeding. Miniature cattle breeders are scattered all throughout the United States. Miniature cows cost $1,800 to $3,500 depending on the size, markings, and color.
These tiny fluffy cows are gentle, kind, friendly, and cute much like a dog…just a smidge bigger. Not to mention, they will make for the best cuddle buddy in the winter. That being said, owning miniature cattle is a big commitment and responsibility. They require daily feeding and attention, as well as These animals require daily feeding and attention. They also live as long as 20 years.
Miniature cows make good pets because they are extremely loving and gentle. They would be a good pet to raise around children as well because they are very social and easy to take care of. Children can also learn from raising a mini cow because they can teach them responsibility and compassion.
Are Mini Cows Healthy?
Miniature cows are generally very healthy pets. They live between about 12 to 25 years, so anyone looking to get one as a pet will be making a long-term commitment. The only thing pet owners should keep a look out for is “bulldog syndrome”, also known as lethal chondrodysplasia. It is the abnormal growth of the cartilage and bone. It leads to physical deformity in places such as the limbs, face, and spine. Sadly, it also leads to death.
On the bright side, it’s rare in cows and seen more often in, you guessed it, bulldogs. So as long as you take good care of them, you will have a lifelong pet.
Do Miniature Cows Stay Small?
Miniature cows are about one-half to a third the size of a normal cow. Not measuring over 48 inches full-grown, these cows will stand about waist height next to an average height person. They can range anywhere between 500 to 1,000 pounds, but they stay pretty short. It is always a good idea to seek out a reputable mini cow breeder just to be sure you are actually buying a miniature cow.
Advantages Of A Mini Cow
What is so different about having a mini cow as a pet, is that you can benefit in so many more ways than just having an adorable and loving companion. Miniature cows produce enough milk to feed a family and oftentimes much more. You could get between half a gallon to a gallon of milk per pump, and some cows can pump up to 4 times a day.
Not only do they give you milk, but they don’t need as much room to roam as a full-size cow does. They only require half an acre of land, minimum for each animal. That’s about the size of most yards nowadays.
Not to mention they’re diets are about as small as they are. They only eat about 30% of the standard amount of feed, which means less to clean up and just enough fertilizer for your family garden. Plus, they are so small and tame that you don’t need crazy fencing. Just your standard single hot wire will keep them in the yard.
Why Are Miniature Cows Good Pets?
Miniature cows are very affectionate and friendly pets. They only need about a half of an acre each to live comfortably. Not only are they good for the family, but they can produce milk and fertilizer for your family garden and farm. They are such social pets that they are sometimes used as animal therapy pets and in petting zoos. They would do well in a 4-H club as well.
Miniature Cattle Breeds ~ Size of Miniature Cows
These miniature cows can be classified in categories that depend on their height at the hip.
- Midsize miniature cows measure from 42 to 48 inches at the hip.
- Standard miniature cows range from 36 to 42 inches.
- Micro-miniature cows are all less than 36 inches in height at the hip.
So generally, miniature cattle breeds range anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 the size of normal cattle.
Advantages Of Miniature Cow Breeds
They can produce just enough milk for your needs
In peak production, a normal-sized cow can offer 6 to 10 gallons of milk per day. That may give you more problems for storage, and you may not really know what you should do with all that milk.
On the other hand, miniature cattle breeds can give you about 1 to 1.5 gallons per milking.
That should be enough to give you a few glasses of milk to drink, some butter and cheese per week, and even a little milk leftover for some neighbors.
How Much Does A Miniature Cow Cost?
As mentioned briefly before, mini cows can range anywhere from around $1,000 to $7,000. They are more expensive than their full-size companions but need only a half an acre per mini cow. This makes it easier to own more cows per acre of land you own, and they often produce better milk and are much more kind.
Miniature cows make better pets because they are often very docile, easily trainable, and gentle. This makes them the perfect pet for any family with small children or the elderly. Some breeds may be less practical because of their horns and the accidents that may ensue because of them. Luckily there are 10 breeds mentioned here that you can choose from.
How Much Feed Do The Small-Breed Cattle Require?
That all depends on your philosophy concerning cattle. I believe that cattle are designed to be grass-fed. The rumen (one of a cow’s four stomachs) has bacteria that make the cow an efficient converter of cellulosic material into beef and milk. If grain is introduced into a cow’s diet, different bacteria are required for digestion.
When not on pasture, I try to feed my cattle high-quality alfalfa hay along with some beet pulp for a protein supplement. I also supply them with a seasonally adjusted natural mineral supplement. If someone is inclined to feed grain for increased milk production (or just to have fat cows), there are guidelines and options that can be referenced in most any book on raising dairy cattle. In general, a small-breed cow is only going to consume a third to half of what a standard-size cow would.
How Much Pasture Would A Single Small-Breed Cow Require?
Depending on the quality of pasture, small-breed cattle will need half to 1 acre of pasture per animal. Ideally, it’s healthiest if the pasture can be divided into smaller sections and used in a rotational grazing pattern. These small cows don’t require heavy-duty fencing — a single hot wire will be enough in many cases. Some people simply tie their small-breed cow to a tire and let it graze in the front yard. They just pick up the tire and roll it to a new spot as needed.
So Are These “Hybrids” Of Miniature Breeds And Standard Dairy Cows? Or Do You Select The Smallest Size “Standard” Animals To Get The Miniatures?
The cattle breeds that were introduced into the United States at the turn of the 20th century were quite small compared to cattle today. Cattle have been “bred up” to increase the size and the volume of milk and beef production. Some cattle still carry the genetics of their smaller ancestors. Our “breeding down” involves selecting these smaller-size purebred cattle and crossing them with a small-breed bull with proven traits. Through careful breeding and selection, desired conformation and purity of the breed is achieved. Fortunately, a few people have done much hard work to get the miniature Jersey breed to a good start.