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Cross Breds
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Our cross breeding program started in 2007 with a little Hereford cow.  She was to small for their bulls and friends didn't want to lose her to a calving problem so we used our Dexter bull.  Here she is as
a youngster.  What I learned from
her was not only beef contributions.
I milked her as well and sent the
milk in for butterfat and protein 
content tests.  I think the most I 
learned though is about conformation
and disposition.  She was so quiet and
accepting.  This is ideal for training,
calving, vetting and growing.  I also
learned what a good foot and strong 
legs should look like and regardless
of how tight up the udder is, there's 
still milk in there, they don't have 
to be big and swinging.  Her first 
calf for us was a heifer. We appropriately named her 
                             Half-Cast.  Thick and muscled
                             with a pretty hip.  She has
                             plenty of Dexter influence as
                             she is full of pep and fun.
                             Here she is at 3 weeks of age.
                             Cassy has now had her first 
                             calf.  We can see Dexter 
                             influence in her udder
                             compared to mom, definitely
                             larger.  Her milking results 
                             are posted on our dairy page.
                             Her butterfat, protein and quantity has all increased over her mother.
Below is our second calf and last calf from that little Hereford.  He is pictured here at 7 months.  Again 1/2 Dexter like his sister and take a look at the muscle development.  I say the last calf because we 
                             lost that sweet Hereford mamma
                             from prolapse.  A plus for the
                             Dexter breed, not likely to
                             have that problem.  We hope to
                             have eliminated that nasty
                             Hereford trait.  We have 
                             butchered our first Hereford/
                             Dexter cross.  No, not this
                             guy yet, another one.  To 
                             experiment we did him at 18
                             months of age.  He hung a bit
                             larger than my 26 - 29 month
                             old purebreds.  The meat was
                             tender and tasty like the purebreds but had more fat on the outside than the purebreds have.  This boy pictured above will go at 20 months.
Cassy in the mean time has 
had a 3/4 Dexter calf.  Here
he is at 3 weeks of age.  His
growth rate is impressive.
At 5 months he is as tall and
nearly as wide as our 10 
month old purebreds. 

We also experimented with 
Lowline Angus.  We raised 
and bred four different
mother cows.  We have 
butchered, but I have
not tried to milk one.  We
showed them and did well, 
again learning about strong
legs and feet but now about
lack of bend to the hocks.
                          These girls
                          were good in
                          the hind but
                          many are not.
                          Look at those
                          loins and
                          hoof angles.
                          I can say I
                          also learned
                          more about
and calving ease and do not own Lowline brood cows any longer.  I will try the semen on my Hereford cross bred mothers.  They do have an impressive food conversion which makes us look a bit harder at our Dexter's bloodlines for ability to gain weight.  We will be butchering our first Dexter/Lowline cross fall of 2012.
We are on to a new cross bred adventure for 2012.  We were lucky to run across two small Hereford/Pinzguar heifers. 

Thelma and Louise were bred to our Dexter bull, Ringo Fire. The Pinzguar is also a dual purpose breed and what's even more cool is it carries the tenderness gene.  This is something we haven't played with yet.  Many are homozygous for it.  These girls are new to us and have never been handled but are quiet and docile and have been very easy so far.

This is our resulting heifer.  Meet Prius  --  definition of a hybrid bringing the best of two thing together.  Well in this case three.  She is 1/4 Hereford x 1/4 Pinzguar x 1/2 Dexter.  A pretty bodied, deep, well balanced heifer.  She has great feed utilization and a calm disposition.  What a fun heifer to play with. 

The main purpose for my cross bred program is to learn about my Dexter's through other breeds.  No more "Those are nice hooves...for a Dexter.  That's a nice udder....for a Dexter.  That's a decent hip....for a Dexter."  It's impossible to improve your stock when you are barn blind. The Dexter is not a "beefier" model or a "milkier" model, they are a dual purpose model and that's what we shoot for in our breeding program at Emerald Park farm.  

A perfect example of our cross-bred program:

Cassy' s Lowline Moderator Plus heifer. She is solid black out of a red white faced mom. Not a white mark on her -- hence the name "Natia". Natia is registered as a Lowline Moderator Plus. She is out of the esteemed Lowline bull Fairwyn's Machine. Natia did well on our show string, was easy to train and a pleasure to work around.  She took Champion Senior Heifer Calf at the Evergreen State Fair.  She moved on to southern California as part of a breeding program for an Angus breeder of long ago who has a passion for Dexter's. 
Natia's Dam and Sire
Pictured here at 2 weeks of age
Pictured here at 9 months
Prius' 2015 3/4 Dexter steer calf
Our 2015 3/4 Dexter steer calves
out of Prius and Cassy
Yin and Yang
Our Darling 2016 3/4 Dexter heifer calf out of Cassy
Our 1/2 Pinzgaeur heifer  --  Mariah (2017)
Pictured at 1 month and 6 months
A 3/4 Dexter out of Prius  --  just a few hours old, a bull calf Skunky
Another 3/4 Dexter out of Prius  --  pictured here at 6 months.  Tesla, a heifer
Our half Dexter, 1/4 Wagyu, 1/4 Jersey twins!  This is so exciting.  What a unique cross to watch grow.  Snickerdoodle and Fortune