|Where Do I Start?|
|Getting Started...the big and small of it!
Look at all the different breeds and crosses available. Decide which breed would work best for you. There is a breed for everyone. If you haven't done so, check out our page on Why Miniature Cattle?There are five main breeds; lowline angus, hereford, dexter, jersey and miniature zebu. Outside of these breeds is a wide variety of crosses. Find which one YOU like. If you like them, you will talk about them, spend time with them, promote them, and take care of them without it seeming like a bunch of work. Miniature cattle should be fun, not work. Talk with breeders of the kind of cattle you like. Talk to as many breeders as you think. Everyone has different opinions. It doesn't mean one is right or wrong, it is what works for them.
If you have not done so, do a search for miniature cattle on the internet. Numerous breeders have websites. It is a quick and easy way to get started. Check out Miniature Cattle Corral, Cattle Pages, Cattle Today More information can be found on Amazon.com. Do a search for the following subjects, authors and titles.
Cattle, dexter cattle, miniature cattle Heather Smith-Thomas, John Hays
Storey's Guide to Raising Beef Cattle
Your Calf: A kids quide to raising and showing a beef & dairy calf
Getting started with Beef & Dairy Cattle
Dexter Cattle and Cattle Keeping on a small scale
Many times it will show other books related to these for even more choices.
Many people thing that if they have mini cattle, they will not need as much or as big equipment. Unless you are raising mini cattle that are under 36 inches, your equipment is going to be about the same as it is in standard cattle. A friend of ours at Rolling Prairie Farm has take a working chute design for standard calves ans uses it with his miniature zebu with great success.
For halters, calf or yearling cattle halters work well for adults. Again, it depends on the breed you are working with, or check out JMK Tack at 1-800-984-2900 or 417-256-6473 sizes 634,635,636,637C
|Pictured is a cattle halter on the left and a horse on the right. The picture is taken from a top view, like the top of the head down. Notice the horse halter has webbing connecting the chin to the neck piece.|
|Horses have longer heads. Horse halters work fine for calves but as they age, cattle halters fit better. A simple modification to the horse halter can be done by removing the webbing and connecting the chin & neck strap together with a single ring.|
In general, cattle get fat pretty easy. It is the way they are designed. For us, we grain everything that is less than a year old. We also grain our yearling females. After this point, grain is given as a treat rather than a daily feed. All our cattle are on pasture in the summer with a basic cattle mineral given "free choice". In the winter, we feed a good grass/alfalfa mix. Adult cattle will get fat on a pure alfalfa hay, but is perfect for calves since they need more quality feed since they are growing. We modify standard feeders just to keep animals from crawling in the feeders. We weld 3/8 inch rolled steel around the feeder. Once they have eaten in as far as they can the bale starts to fall apart so the can reach more. once they cannot reach any we just kick it to the outside so they can reach. They don't waste much this way.
We bottle feed a few calves every year for the fair. We have had good luck with the milk replacer we use. Don't skimp on this end. A good quality milk replacer is the only way to go. It will save you money in the long run. We leave our calves on the cows for a couple days to get the colosturm and natural milk they need to get started. After a couple weeks old we start them on a calf starter feed. And again, good alfalfa hay.
|Cattle health and your Vet
Another great thing about the mini cattle is they are easy to work on yourself or find a vet who can help you. Medicine can be purchased at most farm stores for the do-it-yourselfers. In our area we vaccinate and worm twice a year. Check with a vet in your area. Different areas of the country may require more of diiferent vaccinations. The information on this page is just what has worked for us. We like talking with other people about what works for them. Cattle are easy keepers and require very little "special" requirements. Good luck on getting started and remember........HAVE FUN!