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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I raise a couple Mini Cows as well as goats and I absolutely love them so here's a thread about mid size (classic, John Wayne cows) and minis.
Most of my cows are classic size. This is more of the original size of cows 80 to 100+ years ago. The biggest reason for me to keep little cows is my property size. Small cows are way easier on land than their full size counterparts. You can raise 3 mini cows for the same price as one big cow. 2 minis will equal their full size counterparts in meat output. They are extremely efficient in feed to meat conversion as they don't put so much into bone growth.
They make excellent homestead cows or family cows as they are easy to find dual purpose cows. I have a Dexter/Aberdeen (mini Angus) cross that raises chunky beef calves while still giving me a gallon of milk a day.
I halter trained all my cows as it's easiest to handle them individually without spending a ton on a chute and crush. My kids show the heifers in 4H.
Some of the problems in the mini cow industry come from breeding for the pet market. Some little cows have been bred down by selectively breeding the smallest animals in a herd with good conformation and breed characteristics (American Aberdeen or Lowline) while others have been bred for dwarfism genes. Some mini/mid size cows just were never popular enough in a commercial market to breed bigger so they stayed the same classic size they've always been (Pineywoods cattle, some Mini Herefords). The dwarfism genes are tricky because they can result in really horrible complications like bulldog calves that are usually aborted it must be delivered through embryectomy or Caesarian. The carriers of these genes are quite cute with short little legs and large heads on a stocky body giving them a "baby" type look. Those tiny legs are often deformed or very poorly confirmed with terrible "slipper" style feet, think of a badly foundered pony left with no trimming for a long time. Pair that baby type look with cool colors and you have a large number of breeders coupling some terrible conformation to make cute cows for the pet market. These calves are often sold on the bottle (no import is put on maternal instinct here) for 2k to 5k for a steer. It's a thriving market.
There is mini for pretty much anyone though and while they are expensive to buy they can be well worth it!
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I like the oreo belt on cows. Cute. And how soft and fluffy they look after being prepped for shows. Are you raising for duel purpose? I'd be interested in seeing a picture of your full grown cow and maybe a comparison of a 'bad' mini cow.
 

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Thanks for posting! I didn't realize that poor leg conformation was a frequent problem, I just find it unattractive when they are not proportional. Like some of the minature horses folks are breeding are just completely freakish looking to me!

Are the gestation times of these classic size and modern miniature size the same as the modern Giants? What about weaning age?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
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@GodsGarden the lowest pic of the black cow is the largest cow I have. She's considered classic, around 45" at the hip and almost 900 pounds.
@SalteyLove everything is the same, 9 month gestation, 4-6 month weaning age. They are the same in all ways, just more to the original scale or smaller. Micro mini cattle have the most obvious and exaggerated problems and are the least proportional.
Here's a couple screenshots from one of the top breeders of pet cattle. Knowing basic goat conformation, the issues are fairly obvious.
The last pic is of my classic size heifer next to a full heifer. They are both under a year, I think about 3months apart one age with my heifer being older.
 

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For a minute I just saw a normal cow, lol, then I realized kids were showing them so the cow was smaller. Thanks for the response. Your cows and kids looks so professional.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
For a minute I just saw a normal cow, lol, then I realized kids were showing them so the cow was smaller. Thanks for the response. Your cows and kids looks so professional.
That's my daughter, my oldest at 15 last summer, and my youngest was showing the heifer, he was 6. He was so happy to be able to show his heifer and really happy his sister could walk with him instead of mom (because he's not baby, y'know ).
Daughter is an incredible showman, middle son has tons of fun and grins ear to ear the entire time he's in the ring, youngest I think will be serious and intense and has incredible focus so he'll probably do very well.
They all enjoy it. From new calves/kids, to halter training, to breeding for the next season, to the show ring.
 

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I have a small herd of Dexters. We choose to raise non Chronfrodysolasia. (or non dwarfism) We purchased a small herd from a man who had one with dwarfism. She was a cutie and we loved her just the same, but we chose to sell her and keep our herd "long legged" We have 4 cows and one heifer and a bull. I love the breed. They are pretty docile and easy to manage. We raise for meat and milk.
 

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Yes Dexters have always been small. There are a range of sizes within the breed. I have a few on the larger side of the range and one who is on the smaller end. FromWhat I read, Dexters came from a Breed of Dairy cows called Kerry. They are now very much their own breed however. Personally I would deem Dexters more of a medium cow at any where between 700-900 pound full grown and since there are smaller breeds like a Zebu LOL..but still most consider them a mini cow
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I tried to get pics about 50 years apart. Ballpark 1900, 1950, 1990's. Angus and Hereford. They start out in the early 1900 as modest size cows on balanced frames. In the 50's they get shorter and very, very fat. At the end of the century they are again well balanced animals but massive, bigger and taller than ever. Cows are starting a trend that is leaning towards less height now
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