Sunday, September 14, 2008

And a cow in every yard

Considering the price of meat and milk, Small cows have a big future in Ontario has some good ideas for us here in the States:

At 700 pounds, they remain unsuitable for condo balconies or even the average backyard, but mini-cows like the Dexter, growing in popularity in North America, can live happily on half a hectare or less.

"My cows are the talk of the neighbourhood because they are small and they live on weeds," says Charlotte Gushue of Charlotte's Web Farm in Millbrook.

The Dexter is a cow whose time has come, enthusiasts say. They keep your lawn cropped, and produce food, making them energy efficient. And if you keep your own cow, you know it's not hopped up on hormones or stuffed with chemicals.


Dexters originated in Ireland, according to Dalziel's organization. Originally kept by small landholders, they were known as the "poor man's cow." The average Dexter cow can produce eight or more litres of milk per day and survive just about anywhere. They calve easily, without the expensive intervention of a veterinarian. And they're user friendly.

"I'm only 4-foot-10, and I'm not intimidated by the size of them," says Ellen Riopelle, of Sandy Hill Farm, near Pembroke. She has been raising Dexters for about four years.

Other mini-moos include Miniature Herefords, a smaller version of the popular white-faced full-size Hereford, and Lowlines, a half-size black breed developed from purebred Angus cattle.

I think someone has - or had Dexters - between I-69 and Pendleton.

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