Here it is Monday Nov. 7th and I got up with the desire to just brag a little. Not so much on myself but on our livestock. Mostly our Dexter Cattle. Before we ever bought this place we of course knew (ummmmh somewhat?) what we wanted. We wanted to be in or near the mountains. Somewhere where the seasons changed more than just on the calendar. A little more out than what we were but not so far as to be totally cut off from the conveniences of our modern day lifestyle. A home both small enough to be easily maintained but also large enough that when we had company we at least had the room to offer them a place to sleep and not have to send them to the local hotel for a room. Modern enough that it would be economical to operate and in good enough condition that it would not be falling apart on us when we were old enough to retire. I of course wanted land and yes the livestock to go with it. But on my end I did not go much beyond that as to what kind of livestock. Oh I knew I wanted cows but what breed? Never really gave it much thought. Hogs too of course but pretty much the same thing there. Chickens? They all lay eggs right so what does it matter ? It does. We brought the dog with us so that was all taken care of. A breed damn near as hard headed as I am and of about the same temperament in some respects. Pauline choose the breed so maybe that says something about her and us. But once the house was remodeled I began to have to make decisions or at least do research on exactly what I wanted or expected from the animals we had.
They needed to be hardy! We did not have the time or money to be running back and forth to the vet all the time and besides we were new here and don’t know who to go to anyway. They have to be able to forage and do well on less than the best because that is definitely what was here. The land was rough and neglected for at least 12 to 15 years. They need to be able to eat what is available and do well on it. In other words I knew I did not want something that had been born and bred to just stand around in the lot and be fed all day. My main concentration was on cattle. This was also the last thing we bought. Chickens first. Easy to build a pen for. Low investment and an almost immediate return on investment. You might want to read http://hobbyfarmlife.com/chickens-are-a-lot-like-people/ not only is it entertaining but there may even be a little useful information there as well. Then pigs. Didn’t put a lot of thought into these just good healthy animals at a good price. Hey, you,re only going to have those a few months and then eat them anyway. Had to re-think that later but that is another story. Actually several of them. Then I got me some goats! Remember the land is rough. Very little pasture but a goat will eat anything right. There is a lot of truth to that for any animal , if it is hungry enough, but that is not a situation I wanted and have figured out that nothing is going to eat all the cedars that were here. But for a good goat story you can look at http://hobbyfarmlife.com/life-with-goats-on-the-funny-farm/ .We bought Boer goats from a friend of a family member. We enjoyed them while we had them but grass was in short supply and I was ready so the goats had to0 go. Now of course you know it is time for the cows.
I did a lot of research on the internet about the different breeds available and their traits and strengths. One of the things I found out early on was not only was there a ton of breeds that I had never heard of but also that if not careful your source of info may just happen to raise the breed they talked about in such glorious terms and they just might happen to have a few they would let you buy at a good price. Don’t get me wrong here if I had any to sell that would be me as well. I decided on and bought Dexter cattle and found what was reported to be true. A small breed. Dual purpose so it is said. Milk and beef both of excellent quality and great foragers. Haven’t yet tried the milk but (You could pen them on a concrete slab and they would still find something to eat and grow and be fat too). That may be a little stretch and I don’t have any for sale so relax. We do have 3 of the most beautiful Dexter cows I have seen anywhere though. And a bull calf I am raising to eat but he is making me think about keeping him for breeding for at least one season he looks so good.
It has been a pretty dry summer here on top 0f this ridge and no I don’t have enough pasture for them and have had to offer hay just about all summer and I just wanted t0 show you pictures of our fat and slick, horned but gentle easy to manage black Dexters.
I point out the black not because I think you won’t be able to tell that for yourself but because I am biased. I prefer a black cow! Why I don’t know. I have a brother-in-law that wants nothing but a white face (Hereford) but I like black. Dexters come in red and dun as well and Pauline likes the red but she hasn’t bought any yet.
So here they are and I will introduce you as we go along.
This is Buddy. He is not the boxer we brought with us, that one died. Just about killed me when he did. Surprised me when I discovered I was that attached. Then along comes Buddy. Just about a carbon copy in appearance and temperament it turned out. We found him standing alongside the road abandoned. We weren’t ready for another dog yet but after making several trips by him that day I went and picked him up. Found out later he had heart worms but knew right away he had recently tried to introduce his self to a skunk. Not the best start and I we came close to getting rid of him on more than one occasion but great things sometimes have to be worked for. Remember I said almost as hard-headed as I am. We worked through some issues. Like killing our chickens, catching a young heifer we had at the time. Little things like that.
Here is our current pig herd. No names. I tend to not name the animals we are going to sell or eat. Makes it easier when that time comes. They’re doing quite well to. Just about doubled in size since we bought them a few weeks back.
Meet that bull calf I was telling you about. Born in mid March of this year he weighs, my guess, about 200 to 250 now and that is through a summer of not the best of grass. No name as we don’t.t plan on keeping him. His sire is red and I prefer black as mentioned.
This is Bella; the bull calf’s mother. She should be carrying her first instead of her second but let the bull sweet talk her last year even after I warned her not to believe all that he said.
Maybell; Sister to Bella and about 4 and a half years old and never had a calf. We gave her this one last opportunity simply because she is such a beautiful example of the Dexter breed. Her temperament leaves a little to be desired at times and she loves to bully the younger animals but she is pretty.
And here is Mama you can tell by the fuller more matronly lines of her figure. She is from Oregon. Bought her at a Dexter show and sale in Athens TN just a couple of hours away. Great animal and great example of the breed in all aspects. Easy to work with does well on less than the best of forage black as the ace of spades and has good calves. Who could ask for anything more.
Am I partial to Dexters? You betcha and if you came to my site looking for info on the breed I would sound just like some of the others I mentioned earlier. They don’t quite walk on water but I for one could not be more satisfied with our choice of a breed for the homestead or hobby farm or just subsistence farming.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoy talking about them. I have favorites in other livestock breeds as well but you may have to do a little reading to find those. (smile) I’ll tell you if you really want to know. Just ask.