expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>

Making Money Mondays - A Smaller Beef Cow


If you are like us, you have a good bit of land, but not quite enough to raise grassfed beef for a business.  We have around eight acres of fenced pasture, and approximately 10 acres of hayfield.  The rest is used as the garden, grapevines, orchard, smaller paddocks for wintertime and room for the children to roam.

But, if the thought of going into a beef business intrigues you, all is not lost.  Dexter cows just might be the option for you.  With Celtic roots, these cows normally do not get any bigger than 600-750 pounds and stand at 36-42 inches tall at the shoulder.

They only need about a 1/2 acre per cow and they are great foragers.  They do well on pasture which makes them an excellent choice for a grassfed or foraged based operation.


They are very winter hardy, as they grow dense winter coats.  This means that they do not need elaborate housing to keep warm.

Not only do they have excellent meat, they also make great milk cows as well, averaging about 1 1/2 to 2 gallons a day with 4 % butterfat.  That being said, some are more dairy type than meat type, if you are looking for more beef, choose wisely!  Steers usually dress out at 50-60% live weight.

Smaller size means less intimidating!  They are also easier to handle than a full size cow.  The mothers are very attentive to their young and can birth with little or no problems.


If you venture into starting your dream herd, you must look into genetics.  There are two genetic disorders that could be fatal, chondrodysplasia and pulmonary hypoplasia anasarca. Although being a carrier of one of these traits isn't necessarily deadly, breeding it to another with the trait can be.  Responsible breeders have tested their cattle, so this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

The costs of Dexters can be a little expensive, but if you take into account reduced feed costs along with cheaper housing and equipment, plus, bringing good prices at brood-stock sales, it could mean more profit for you.

Dexter cattle can make a great addition or sole enterprise for your small farm.  They have been around for a long time and also make a great dual purpose breed!

If you would like more information, go to American Dexter Cattle Association.  Also, a great book to get you started, Small Cattle for Small Farms (Landlinks Press).




Are you encouraged by Our Simple Farm? If so, would you join me? Look to the upper left to join this blog, subscribe via email or like me on Facebook. You can also look below and become a fan by liking my blog and/or follow me on Twitter!

6 comments:

  1. I'm very much hoping to get a Dexter cow in the future for milk. I love that they are a smaller size heritage breed, versatile, hardy, and easy to handle. Interesting post! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to own a Dexter cow--maybe someday!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am excited to read this post because, i love the Dexter cow and very interest to own it. Thank you so much for share!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting post. It is good to know that we can profit from other cow varieties aside from the large cows that large farms often breed. I hope they are as good as the big ones. Jerky Australia

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fun read. We have a similar set up (10 acres pasture 10 acres hay) and we're looking at getting dexters. Do you think it's reasonable to expect to make a little money fron the venture. It's not really the point, but it would be nice. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

I would love to hear from you! Your sweet comments are always appreciated!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...