If you’re a cattle herder at heart--yet lack the wherewithal to head west to rustle up some steer--fear not. There is a scaled down version of ranching available just for you. With food costs escalating and tainted beef products hitting the market with alarming frequency, the notion of going organic to the extreme has led to a mini-stampede of citizens turning to mini-herds. Miniature cows can serve as dairy wonders. You should really use them as just really neat pets that double as lawnmowers and fertiliser distributors.
- Skill level:
Decide on the kind of cow you want. There are milking cows, bulls and cows for breeding, rodeo animals and critters that serve as novelty pets.
Choose the breed. There are more than 25 miniature breeds, ranging in weight from 1134434 Kilogram. The most popular minis are the Dexter, the Hereford and the Lowline Angus. That's because of their docile natures and minimal pasture usage.
Visit a reputable breeder. Contact breeders in your area, but be willing to travel to get the best animal for your needs. The International Miniature Cattle Breeds Registry lists breeders and available animals on its Website. National Cattle Breeders also includes breeders of minis in its directory. See the links in our Resources section for contact information.
Interact with the cows and bulls that are for sale. Ask about the cow's lineage. Breeders keep lineage charts dating back several generations, and it should be able to provide you detailed information about the animal's parentage.
Ask for proof of vaccinations and the health status of the animal. Ask about guarantees. This is up to the individual breeder.
Pay for the animal in full. The cow cannot be removed from the ranch until it is fully paid for. If you expect to pay by check, you will need a letter of credit from your bank.
Provide your own transport ion for the animal. Breeders assume no responsibility for the animal once it is on your transport.
Tips and warnings
- Shop before you buy. There are many breeds, and price tags vary greatly. While minis are less expensive than regular sized cows, these critters can still cost thousands of dollars.
- Don't give a cow a miniature yard simply because he's a miniature cow. Miniature cows are hardly little. You will need adequate space and grazing area. While their summer time feed can generally be taken care of by an unkempt lawn, you’ll need to provide hay and shelter in the winter.
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