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Keeping a 'pet' cow.

(10 Posts)
AuntOlive Thu 04-Jun-15 12:58:23

I really want to get a miniature Dexter cow. I know you have to register with Defra etc, but can any current small holders or cattle owners give me any advice on:

Cost (buying one and annual feed/ vet bills etc)
Space required
Feed (apart from grass - i.e. can you give them supplementary food if you have smaller amount of grazing?)

Any other tips welcomed.

(PS I know I am mad and people keep trying to put me off but I am at the age where I really really want to do it and if not now I probably never will as I will be too old!)

AuntOlive Thu 04-Jun-15 12:59:57

Also, where to look to source one - it's not as easy as popping down to the pet shop. Would a regular farmer scratch look for nearest straightjacket his head a bit if I turned up and asked if it would be possible to buy one??

TheFnozwhowasmirage Fri 12-Jun-15 20:46:29

I don't know how much Dexters cost as we don't keep them,but weaners/ young calves can go for anything from £200 to £900 depending on the breed and quality. Your best best is a breeder or you might be able to come across one at a cattle market.Vet costs,well they charge about £40 to come out,plus whatever treatment needs doing,bear in mind that if you need to move your calf anywhere,you will need to have it TB tested and a clear result before you can do so.Again the Vet has to come and do this,then come back again for the result,your calf/cow will have to be well handled,unless you have access to a cattle crush.
I have never known of cattle kept on inadequate grazing,but you could supplement with hay,the going rate for a small bale here is £5, assuming on having no grass available,this would last a day or so. Cattle do need to come off the land during the winter,to reduce poaching and for their welfare. When ours are in,they are fed and lib hay plus cake for added vitamins/minerals and protein. They are bedded down on straw and are in from Dec to March,we feed and bed down using very big bales which cannot be moved unless by machinery and a 5ft long by 3ft approx bale will last our 6 or 8 steers 1or 2 days. Just be aware that young cattle can be very skittish and can get very excitable when new bedding is brought into the pens,I have seen one of ours jump clear over a 3ft bale and they can kick and buck like you wouldn't believe,worse than any horse.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Fri 12-Jun-15 20:52:47

Don't just get one

readysteady Fri 12-Jun-15 20:58:08

All I know is you need more then one

CMOTDibbler Fri 12-Jun-15 21:00:02

You would need to learn to do things like trim its hooves, and be aware that a large animal vet may well not come out just for one beast. It will need vaccinations, worming, fly treatment, and blood tests.
Cattle are herd animals, and it would be lonely on its own, so you would need two.

I'd say you would need an acre of grass to keep them properly, especially as you would need to divide in the winter to protect the grass.

Buying hay can be a hassle if you can't buy, transport and store a large number of bales at a time as most people don't want to sell a bale at a time.

TheFnozwhowasmirage Sat 13-Jun-15 09:34:27

Ha,I was coming back to say that you'd need more than one,they are herd animals and it would be cruel to keep it on its own. Illnesses,apart from scours that needed a Vet visit,and ringworm ( which is transferable to humans and my aunt caught from a calf) ours have always been very healthy,so can't really help on that front.

springsprang Sun 21-Jun-15 01:04:35

Do you have a field or just a big garden? At a guess you'd need about 1.5 acres for 2 dexters and I don't know if the miniature dexters are hardy enough to winter out? Paperwork wise you'll need a holding number, a herd number and register with the British Cattle Tracing System (or whatever they're called now) and inform your local council animal health. You need to keep movement records for each animal, a herd book and a medicines book. And insurance.

Do you know anyone with cows? Go, look, work and learn before buying them. Check the breed society for specialist sales, chat to breeders at agricultural shows or look at the auctions for their specialist rare breeds type of sales. Do you have a local petting farm type thing?

Don't be scared of asking farmers for help with anything - most are very generous with time and advice unless at busy times of the year - roughly whereabouts are you?

springsprang Thu 25-Jun-15 08:27:48

Saw this, any good?

I have a small selection of Dexter cows and heifers, some with calves at foot, short legged and non-short for sale looking for nice happy homes.
Prices from £350 -£450
For further info please ring Penny on 'a telephone number I can supply'

bacon Tue 15-Sep-15 14:12:06

You cant keep 1 cow - 2 or more these are herd animals. If you want pets then you are better with Steers (males) more then heifers. Pref halter trained or very friendly. Unless you have time to brake them in you'll be chasing them around and it can be dangerous.

Its easy to source cows through the breed society or contact your local animal market. £300 - £1000 each. You'll need to get one delivered as you wont have a stock box so expect to pay extra.

Cows are out on pasture April - November and generally indoors the rest due to poaching, ruined pastures (do not under estimate the damage and weeds) and lack of grass.

You need to register with a large big animal vets and vets fees are very high. Allow 1 yearly TB test depending on the TB area you are in.

You dont need to feed grain - its costly we are pasture feed. High quality hay (dont be taken in with rubbish for sale) We supplement ours with salt, lime and seaweed. Barley straw - expect to pay high for small orders.

Land management is paramount, strip grazing is the best form with electric fencing. Never put cattle in one field to run free. You'll need to have the fields harrowed, topped and rolled, moveable water system.

Really health problems hardly exist in small herds where animals have space and well managed.

Cant help with costs really - we are more commercial. Hard to price up as straw may last longer than you think depending on the ground conditions. Have available funds for vets is necessary and time is essential.

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