DEXTER FACTS - Additional information coming
- Dexters are the smallest British breed of cattle and are established as a
dual purpose breed with the average weight of cow being some 350kgs and standing
approx 36" to 42" at the shoulder.
- The breed comes in three colors, predominately black, but also in red and
dun. Being a mountain breed they are extremely hardy and can live outside all
year round. Their size and versatility makes them an ideal smallholders cow.
- They are efficient food converters, the ratio of their milk and beef
production to food consumed is very impressive. Their milk yield is bound to be
appreciable lower than that of cows of larger breeds, but when compared it is
only fair to remember that food intake is less, and because of their small size
two can be kept in place of one larger animal.
- Milk yields will vary according to management and conditions, that is to say
whether the cows are kept as dairy cows, sucklers, or house cows, For instance
the average milk yield for a house cow will be 2273 liters per lactation. Cows
kept as sucklers will raise its own calf as well as a larger commercial foster
calf and do them well. Dexters kept as dairy cows will yield on average 2454 liters
to 2867 liters with some individuals yielding 4080 liters. the milk is of
very good quality with high butterfat and protein levels. Average butterfat
percentage is well over 4% and protein 3.51%.
- The breed is early maturing and beef of excellent quality, and flavor with
good marbling can be produced economically. Dexter steers can be finished off
grass at 18 to 24 months old, without supplementary feeding with an average live
weight of approx 350kgs. Dexters because of their good meat to bone ratio a
killing out percentage of 56% can be achieved.
- The meat is very popular with housewives and farmshops because of its flavor, small joints and minimal waste.
- Heifers mature young and can be put to the bull at 15 to 18 months old.
- Dexters are noted for their longevity and should breed regularly for 14 years
or more. Calving problems are rare, with calves being quick on their feet, full
of character and with a lively inquisitive temperament.
- Mature Dexter cows can be successfully crossed with most native beef breeds
and will produce an excellent commercial offspring.
- Obviously choose a bull with an easy calving record and the cow at calving
should be fit, but not overweight.
- The success of the Dexter over the last 20 to 25 years is quite outstanding.
The Dexters ability to adapt to varying and extreme climatic conditions and
different systems of management is typical of the breed. They have established themselves well in many parts of the world. Animals have been exported not only
to the USA and South Africa, but also to Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Kenya,
Zimbabwe, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and Australia. Several of these
countries now have their own breed societies, which only goes to show how well
this breed has become established, truly the small cow with a big future.