On the night of May 28th, @ 10 pm to be precise, we were once again witness to the miracle of birth. Our first Dexter calf of 2015 was born that night. Our matriarch momma cow Belle Fourche Merrideth, @ the age of 11, was preparing to give birth to her 9th calf. Experienced. She began her labor, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Laboring, contractions, pushing. Contractions getting closer. Lying down, a giant push & the water broke. Up again, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Hoof toes appear, then 2 pale colored hooves, soles down… so good to see the correct position. Labor, contractions, pushing. A nose appeared, a pale colored nose & a tongue… so good to see. Quickly there was a head, then shoulders, then a warm wet calf dropped to the straw covered floor. Merrideth spins around, nose to her new baby, licking with earnest. She begins her gentle low chorus of momma moos, encouraging. The calf shakes his head & snorts, eyes open, legs moving. The little dun colored bull calf makes many attempts to rise. 10 minutes later, 4 wobbly legs under him, he stood for the first time. Standing, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. 5 minutes later he found his momma’s udder, then the teat and then milk. Lovely, warm, powerfully nutritious, life giving, first milk. Mom licks and licks and licks until his beautiful silvery coat is clean & dry. Nap time.
Happy Birthday FullCircle Walter. Welcome to our world.
This is FullCircle Norman. Norman is a 5 month old Dexter bull calf on his way to becoming a steer. He is Dun in color and at 5 months stands 34” tall at the shoulder and tapes @ 300#’s. Norman has been a joy to raise. He is very handsome, smart, friendly, calm and gentle mixed up with a bit of the clown. The other day my husband Bob went out to their turnout at noon to feed the cattle family their hay lunch. Norman was lying down under the hay feeder chewing his cud. The hay was put into the hay rack above him and the other cattle began eating. Norman figured this was a really good gig he had going. He could lay down and the other cows would knock down the best hay for him to eat. Lunch was on the lounge that day! Since Norman is such a fan of National Public Radio, he listens every morning in the barn during morning chores, he has heard numerous stories about the importance of energy conservation. Norman is ALL about energy conservation and helps out whenever he can!
We raise Registered Dexter Cattle on our 18 acre farmstead in NW Oregon, USA. Our small family herd of Dexters spend their days outside on either pasture or in a large turnout area. They are brought into the barn each evening. Every morning begins with the cows. While I am doing barn chores and they begin breakfast, we all listen to NPR together. I have very educated cows that are up to date on the pressing issues of the day! Our farm routine also ends each day with the cows. Us humans always end up sitting on the edge of the cow mangers visiting and catching up on each others day. The cows contentedly munch on their dinner and are happy being the recipients of an ear rub here, a chin scratch there. It is a lovely way to slow down and end the day. The Dexters have been a wonderful addition to our farm. They give us Beef, Dairy products, beautiful Calves, mowing and weed removal services and fertilization, but also hours of fun and a daily laugh at some antic or another!
To enjoy other blog posts about our Dexters follow these links.
In 2009 I was doing research on breeds of cattle looking for one to add to our small farm. We ultimately chose the American Dexter. Originating in Ireland, this small stature, dual-purpose breed had all the characteristics that I was looking for. With mature cows weighing in around 700#’s and standing approximately 40” at the shoulder they seemed a perfect fit for us and our small farm.
For a family cow a Dexter will produce a manageable quantity of high butterfat milk, 1-2 gallons per day is common. Our family milk needs are much less so I chose to milk once a day and only take what is needed in the kitchen. Sharing with the calf allows me access to wonderful milk as well as providing the calf with a great start in life. A Dexter for beef will produce about 400#’s of tender and lean, well marbled, dark red beef in smaller portion cuts from a 24 month old steer. They are economical to keep and return a high percentage of food product for their size when compared to larger breeds.
Dexters are the perfect breed choice for a small acreage family cow. Beautiful, gentle and friendly, easy to train and to handle. Their diminutive size makes them a great livestock project for children and a pleasure to work with for small women or older adults. Dexter’s are hardy, long-lived and are known as great mothers and easy calvers.
Our Dexter’s have been a wonderful addition to our farm. They are great fun and bring us immense pleasure as well as beautiful calves, wonderful dairy products and healthy beef.
We occasionally offer for sale high quality registered breeding stock heifers. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in adding a FullCircle heifer to your farm!
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Cathy & Bob
Belle Forche Merrideth at 5 years, with Bones
FullCircle Sophie @ 2 wks.
Merrideth & Oscar
Belle Fourche ‘Mom & Grandma’ Merrideth the playground monitor.
Belle Forche Merrideth w/ FullCircle Sophie at 3 months
FullCircle Eloise @ 2 yrs. close to term with FullCircle Maggie