Can I do anything with only 5000 m2? Dexter?

Hi all,

I'm afraid I already know the answer to my question, but I wanted to see what experiences you have!

I've been dreaming of getting my own cattle forever, and enjoyed helping my neighbour with his small herd of approx. 15 Herefords for a couple of years now.

I only have half a hectare of fenced in pasture myself. Is it at all possible to keep perhaps two Dexter cows on that little space without their quality of life being disregarded? I know it's nowhere near enough for a couple of "fullsize" cows, but I have no experience with the smaller breeds, so I wanted to hear what input you might have.
I do have the option of letting them graze during summer at my neighbour's, but he's an aging man and I can't know for sure if I'll still have that option 5 or 10 years down the line.

Thank you all in advance!

Also: I'm sorry if I don't use the proper language. I'm not a native English speaker and my livestock/farming vocabulary is lacking at best 😅

All the best,
Josefine
 

Mc115reed

Member
Hi all,

I'm afraid I already know the answer to my question, but I wanted to see what experiences you have!

I've been dreaming of getting my own cattle forever, and enjoyed helping my neighbour with his small herd of approx. 15 Herefords for a couple of years now.

I only have half a hectare of fenced in pasture myself. Is it at all possible to keep perhaps two Dexter cows on that little space without their quality of life being disregarded? I know it's nowhere near enough for a couple of "fullsize" cows, but I have no experience with the smaller breeds, so I wanted to hear what input you might have.
I do have the option of letting them graze during summer at my neighbour's, but he's an aging man and I can't know for sure if I'll still have that option 5 or 10 years down the line.

Thank you all in advance!

Also: I'm sorry if I don't use the proper language. I'm not a native English speaker and my livestock/farming vocabulary is lacking at best 😅

All the best,
Josefine

you could keep 50 dexters on it if you wanted aslong as you were happy to buy in food and set it up properly too handle the muck generated
 
you could keep 50 dexters on it if you wanted aslong as you were happy to buy in food and set it up properly too handle the muck generated
That might be a tad too much for me 😄 But thank you so much for your reply! I would definitely supplement with feed, hay and silage (not sure if that's what it's called in English), and handle the muck. No decisions being made yet, but I might be able to long-term lease a pasture the same size from another neighbour who used to have horses, so I would be able to rotate grazing and give the pasture a break.
 

MickyMook

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
County Down
If you are serious about grazing them, then depending on ground type, you should have no issue year round, ideally keep them in a hut or shed over winter to allow the grass to rest. Holstein dairy cows are typically grazed at 2 cows/acre or more and their intakes are significantly higher than a pet dexter. You will be stock at around 2 cows to 1.25 acres. You may find that you use more fertilizer than you like, but as you are on a small scale, it isn't a large overall expense.

A few electric fences will split your space into strips for grazing, allowing the grass to grow when the cows are not eating it, and some bought in silage or hay will keep them fed over the winter months. You should have no difficulties. Their quality of life will depend on access to food, water and loafing area, of which I imagine they should have plenty.
 

Wisconsonian

Member
Trade
Are we to assume these are pets, and no breeding or milking is intended? Then it should be easy, the bought in feed will be plenty of fertilizer. Don't be afraid to work out deals to graze neighbors pasture, you're doing them a service as much as they are doing you a service, depending on fences, water, how well your cattle clean it up, etc.

If you are intending to breed and milk, it's still workable. Nothing says you have to breed them both every year to get a small amount of milk. Even keeping one milk cow is perfectly acceptable for the cow, they'll be part of your family more than the dog. AI is more or less easy to get somebody to come do for you, just need to recognize when they're in heat, which wouldn't be hard if you're milking them.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
If you can get that extra summer pasture, then it could work quite well - if your pasture is allowed to recover properly, you then have pasture to ration out, for however long you need to ration it out for 🙂

Not all hectares are managed the same way - some contain enough grass to feed 1.5 rabbits for a day, and some contain enough to feed 500 dexter-sized cattle for a day.

Therefore you should be able to run 2 for 6 months of the year with good management and a bit of hay, rest it up and go again 👍
 

steveR

Member
Mixed Farmer
@Josefine_Denmark , having owned far too many Dexters in the past, and still have a few here for the freezer, I can tell you they vary in size hugely! ;)

If you just want pets, then small is good. If you wnat a couple of cows to produce milk or a calf that can go and be turned into some of the finest beef you will ever have, then go for a "medium leg" cow.

Great if you can rest the field as others say.
 
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If you are serious about grazing them, then depending on ground type, you should have no issue year round, ideally keep them in a hut or shed over winter to allow the grass to rest. Holstein dairy cows are typically grazed at 2 cows/acre or more and their intakes are significantly higher than a pet dexter. You will be stock at around 2 cows to 1.25 acres. You may find that you use more fertilizer than you like, but as you are on a small scale, it isn't a large overall expense.

A few electric fences will split your space into strips for grazing, allowing the grass to grow when the cows are not eating it, and some bought in silage or hay will keep them fed over the winter months. You should have no difficulties. Their quality of life will depend on access to food, water and loafing area, of which I imagine they should have plenty.
Thank you for your reply! I’ll definitely make sure there’s food and water aplenty as well as loafing areas. We have a barn that was used for cattle back in the day before the previous owner sold all the land, so that could definitely work for the winter months. It’s currently only occupied by the four-wheelers but I’m certain they don’t mind sharing.

And then I figured I’d get them a run-in shed for shelter in the pasture 😊
 
I’m guessing we’re talking a money isn’t really an object scenario here?
Yeah, they’re just for company like my dog, who also does very little to contribute to the income of the house 😂 But truly makes it homey!


Can I suggest that you speak to the Dansk Dexter Association? I'm sure that they will be able to advise you. Their website is www.danskdexter.dk and email is [email protected]
Thank you, PostHarvest! I’ll definitely hit them up as well. I’ll be entirely honest: I did consider writing them, but I was a little scared of making a fool of myself if I was being completely unrealistic with my space. But I’ll make sure to seek their council as well 😊


Are we to assume these are pets, and no breeding or milking is intended?
Thanks for your response as well! Yes, that’s the plan – just pets. At least for the next few years.
Down the line, I might give breeding a go if my neighbour is by my side to supervise and if I could get some long term leasing and space becomes less of a hassle 😁


If you can get that extra summer pasture, then it could work quite well - if your pasture is allowed to recover properly, you then have pasture to ration out, for however long you need to ration it out for 🙂
Thank you, Kiwi Pete! It’s been great hearing all your inputs. But yeah, definitely gonna work around getting the pasture time to rest properly.


@Josefine_Denmark , having owned far too many Dexters in the past, and still have a few here for the freezer, I can tell you they vary in size hugely! ;)
Haha, is there such a thing as “too many”? 😂 I’m going for pets – at least as a start – so small it is 😁


How is it possible that the Danes and the Dutch speak better English than we British people?
Hah, you're too kind! I wish the livestock vocabulary was a bigger part of Danish elementary school 😂
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Yeah, they’re just for company like my dog, who also does very little to contribute to the income of the house 😂 But truly makes it homey!



Thank you, PostHarvest! I’ll definitely hit them up as well. I’ll be entirely honest: I did consider writing them, but I was a little scared of making a fool of myself if I was being completely unrealistic with my space. But I’ll make sure to seek their council as well 😊



Thanks for your response as well! Yes, that’s the plan – just pets. At least for the next few years.
Down the line, I might give breeding a go if my neighbour is by my side to supervise and if I could get some long term leasing and space becomes less of a hassle 😁



Thank you, Kiwi Pete! It’s been great hearing all your inputs. But yeah, definitely gonna work around getting the pasture time to rest properly.



Haha, is there such a thing as “too many”? 😂 I’m going for pets – at least as a start – so small it is 😁



Hah, you're too kind! I wish the livestock vocabulary was a bigger part of Danish elementary school 😂
Rough guide,, 1 grazing per 250mm of precipitation.

This could mean you only allocate 1% of your grazing area per day, but it will mean you seldom run short of feed while keeping expenses, mud, and health issues to a minimum.

They will manage their own pasture if you manage their movement around it, just as they will wreck the pasture if you let them manage themselves all the time
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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