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question about dexter cow

 
Pamela Smith
Posts: 56
Location: BC Canada Zone 5&6
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Hello Adam. Love the video about the paste for the trees in your orchard and when to trim the trees. We have a small homestead we started from scratch 2.5 yrs ago. We are also off grid so it makes it more difficult for so many things. We will be working on alternative energy sources this yr. In the meantime it is about working towards self sufficiency. Garden is in , small orchard planted and a small vineyard as well. This yr is about preparing for a yr round greenhouse with alternative energy sources, done with aquaponics and aeroponics. Put up a living fence and clear forest and land to make way for a couple dairy cows. Thanks for coming here and sharing. I look forward to reading your book. I Will put forth a question in the cattle forum. It is wonderful to see young people do what you are doing. My husband and I are retired and living on a shoestring budget but want to establish something for ourselves and our grandchildren. We all need to start somewhere and age should not be a factor, to create a healthier and more loving planet. Ty for your efforts and sharing. Hugs. <3

I do not have the hang of this forum yet. They moved my question so I will put it back. here is my question about the dexter cows.
Hello Adam,

This is good timing. Sometime this year we want to buy a dexter cow or 2. We are but a small homestead working towards self sufficiency. We are on but 9 acres of forested land. Lots of bracken fern we need to get rid of this year first. We also need to clear up the forest more. Suggestions of what I can plant in the forest as a good feed for a dexter? Hoping to plant some alfalfa once we clean out the bracken. Until then we will bring in some good alfalfa and grow fodder. Our concern is the dexter when purchased as an adult I am told at least has a nasty temper, mind of their own. I would love help on when would be a good age to buy? young and raise it ourselves to be use to us? at 1 yr ready to be bred or already bred and its second yr? I was told there are 2 types of dexters and one is more docile and easy going but few have this type. I must research again. It has been a yr since I looked into it. Thanks for any info you can help me with. I look forward to reading your book. <3
 
Adam Klaus
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gardener
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Hi Pamela, thanks for all the kind words,

My biggest bit of advice, is to improve your pasture forage now, before you get a dairy cow. The ecological shift from bracken fern to alfalfa is a huge one, that will take years of controlled grazing management to achieve. I would start with sheep, then progress to non-lactating bovines, before finally trying to pasture dairy cows. Dairy cows need 'excellent quality pasture', no exceptions. Jim Gerish and Allan Nation are the two experts that I look to for understanding what constitutes excellent pasture. Use a less nutritionally demanding class of livestock, managed properly with rotational grazing, to improve your forage base.

As far as nice and mean Dexters, I am sure that there are all types. They are individual animals, like people, and just like you can have two brothers from the same parents, one nice and one mean, the same applies to cattle. You are selecting individuals for your herd.

Regarding age, I think that finding relatively mature, well-tempered animals, is the best bet. If you raise up calves, that is great, but then you have to go through the challenges of the 'teenage' years when the calf becomes a heifer. Heifers are a pain in the rear, most of the time! The challenge to sourcing a mature dairy cow with good temperament is that most folks won't sell theirs. A good dairy cow is worth more than you can sell her for, so people only sell the bad ones, generally. But persevere enough, and you can find a good older cow that will serve you wonderfully.

good luck!
 
Pamela Smith
Posts: 56
Location: BC Canada Zone 5&6
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Adam, Thank you very much for the suggestions and information. Much appreciated. Maybe I will get pigs and get them to uproot all the bracken.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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