The idea of raising a miniature cattle over a standard, full-sized cattle may seem laughable. Why would anyone be interested in that? Bigger is always better right?
Well, that’s not exactly true. Miniature cattle breeds are actually perfect and ideal if you own a small homesteading farm. As meat or for dairy production, miniature cattle breeds can actually help you maximize your farm’s gains and expenditures. For example, such breeds would need lesser pasture to graze on. Similarly, they would also produce far lesser milk. However, this is ideal in the case of a small homesteading farm.
Surprisingly, miniature cattle breeds can also cost more than standard cattle breeds. A miniature cattle breed may thus not be for everyone. And that is why we have created this article. We hope to provide valuable insights on miniature cattle breeds for our readers to best help them make their decision.
How different are miniature cattle breeds from standard cattle breeds?
Well, miniature cattle breeds come in a variety of sizes. They can be half the size of a standard cattle or even, one-third the size of a standard cattle. If you are raising a miniature dairy cow, you should also expect the amount of milk produced to be reduced in similar proportions.
Advantages of miniature cattle breeds
1. For small homesteading farms, they provide the perfect amount of milk
If you’re an owner of a small homesteading farm, the amount of milk a standard cow produces is simply far too much. A standard cow produces six to ten gallons of milk in a day and that can be far too much for your farm. Miniature cows, however, produce one to one and a half gallons of milk daily. This would be just enough for your farm’s needs! Essentially, a miniature cattle breed would be perfect because you’d have little to no wastage of dairy.
2. They are easier to care for
Apart from preventing dairy wastage, miniature cattle breeds are overall much easier to care for. Due to their smaller sizes, lesser pasture space is needed. They also require lesser feed for them. One-third of a standard portion is enough to satisfy them. Similarly, they’ll need lesser water too. This means that you will have to haul fewer buckets of water to them. Due to their breeding, they also suffer from significantly fewer medical conditions. And any usual conditions they have can also be easily determined through a blood test. You’d thus be able to check if a cow has any unfavorable genes before making the buy too.
They also produce significantly lesser waste. And this means that your farm will have less of an odor. Any waste can also be easily carted away if needed. To further improve this situation, you can even adjust and control their grazing pattern on your pasture. You can section your pasture out and slowly rotate them around these sections.
Lastly, due to their smaller size, they are significantly weaker than their standard counterparts. This means that fencing is not as big an issue. In fact, you can easily use a singular hot wire as a fence. There is no need for thick and heavy-duty metal fencing.
3. They’re perfect for meat
Once again, miniature cattle breeds are great due to the portions they can give out for small homesteading farms. Even though they are smaller, a single miniature cow is actually the perfect amount of meat for feeding a family of four for months. This ensures less food wastage for what you’ll reap.
Furthermore, miniature breeds are far better at utilizing and converting any costly and organic feed eaten. Their meat is simply better. It’s leaner and more nutritious than standard cuts and hence, is also in great demand by others. This makes selling such meat easier as well.
What are the different miniature breeds?
So, owning a miniature breed definitely sounds way more ideal for your farm now. But, there are so many breeds, which should you get? We’ve put together the following section to help you in that as we go through two of the most popular breeds.
Miniature Belted Galloway
Miniature Belted Galloways are a hardy cattle breed that hails from Scotland. They are covered with a thick double coat of fiber and this enables them to keep warm in cold weather.
This breed is exceedingly popular for small farms due to the fact that they are easy to raise and take care of. Firstly, they are naturally hornless. This makes taking care of them easier as dehorning or tipping is not required. This also keeps it safe for you and or anyone that handles them. Secondly, they require the least amount of feeding but still end up with excellent meat quality. This makes raising them exceedingly worthwhile. Lastly, due to their coat, they are able to thrive in most kinds of weather. In fact, it keeps them warm in winter and hence, they don’t require as much food as other breeds.
Dexter Mini Cow
Dexter mini cows are considered a rare breed. This means that raising a Dexter mini cow has two major benefits. One, you are able to help preserve and repopulate an endangered species. And two, meat from a Dexter mini cow would be extremely rare and can hence, be sold for more. Furthermore, Dexter mini cows can also be raised for their milk production too. Despite their small size, Dexter mini cows produce significantly higher amounts of milk as compared to other miniature breeds. In a day, they can produce about two and a half to four gallons of milk.
Dexter cows are also very resilient. However, they do require some form of shelter during extreme weather. They also require grass for feeding as grain or other types of feed can negatively impact the quality and taste of their meat. They are, therefore, not the best suited for every farm.
Our list of miniature cattle breeds is not exhaustive. There are many other breeds available for raising. It would be best to truly familiarize yourself with all the different breeds before making any purchases. The best way to do that would be to talk to other farmers who own such animals. They would be able to give you the best insight.