Irish Dexter Cattle
The native home of the Dexter is in the southern part of Ireland
where they were bred by small land holders and roamed about the
shelter less mountainous districts in an almost wild state of nature.
The first recorded knowledge of Dexters in America is when more
than two hundred Dexters were imported to the US between
1905 and 1915. In recent years there has been a
worldwide surge of interest in Dexter cattle.
They thrive in hot as well as cold climates and do well outdoors year round,
needing only a windbreak, shelter and fresh water. Fertility is high and
calves are dropped in the field without difficulty. They are dual purpose,
being raised for both milk and meat. Dexters are also the perfect
old-fashioned family cow. Pound for pound,
Dexters cost less to get to the table,
economically turning forage
into rich milk and quality, lean meat.
According to the guidelines, the ideal three year old Dexter bull
measures 38 to 44 inches at the shoulder and
weighs less than 1000 pounds.
The ideal three year old Dexter cow measures between 36 to 42 inches
at the shoulder, and weighs less than 750 pounds. There are two varieties
of Dexters, short legged and long legged. Milk and beef production and
other characteristics are generally the same for both types.
Dexters come in Black, Red or Dun. Dexters are horned or polled,
with some people preferring to dehorn them. A milking cow can produce
more milk for its weight than any other breed. The daily yield averages
1 to 3 gallons per day with a butterfat content of 4 to 5 percent.
Yields of cream up to one quart per gallon are possible.
The cream can be skimmed for butter or ice cream.
Beef animals mature in 18 to 24 months and result in small
cuts of high quality lean meat, graded choice, with little waste.
The expectable average dress out is 50 to 60 percent and the
beef is slightly darker red than that of other breeds.