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.
were good in
the hind but
many are not.
Look at those
I can say I
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.