As large acreage, multi-generation family farms continue to disappear, the small acreage family farm/homestead is becoming more common. Miniature cattle breeds are particularly well-suited to smaller farms/family homesteads for a number
of reasons. Below are our personal reasons for choosing minis.
1. Raising our own beef...Yes, you can eat miniature cows. We raise beef breeds but there are also milking breeds. We have a family of 3 at home now and beef from a full sized cow would be entirely too much for us. 1 mini steer gives us 300
-600 lbs hang weight (depending on age, breed and feed out process) which is enough to feed the 3 of us plus sharing with extended family.
2. Raising our daughter...We have a toddler that we wanted to raise with and appreciation for hard work and small town values. Our choice was just in time too because as we see it now, we're so much better off in the woods. We also enjoy FFA and 4H programs and would like our daughter to show. We've got some great lines that we're really excited about.
3. More animals...We love, love, love animals and once we met our first mini Herefords, we were in a long term relationship with them. They are so cute, silly and loving and we spend time every day in the pasture with them. Some of our girls come to the house specifically for the rub-downs. They are family. Any animal who is lucky enough to land here with us is a happy camper. Same goes for any cow we sell - happy cows are the best.
4. Amount of land...We were fortunate enough to find 20 acres where we wanted to be but we did not realize that 20 acres (about 15 available for cows) is really not enough to have a herd of full sized cows. We purchased 2 full sized Herefords from a neighbor. We figured we should know intimately the differences between the full sized and minis. Oh do we know the difference now! These big girls are really rough on our land. Let it rain for a couple days and they create
some serious mud pits. On average, a full sized cow will need a 1 cow per 1 acre to graze where minis only need 1/2 acre per cow (and don't tear it up). If you have 2 acres, you can still have a farm pet or raise your own beef/milk cows!
5. Cost to keep...Back to the big girls, man they can eat! It really cost us double to feed these girls and they sure can demolish a large round bale of hay. In addition, the cost of dewormer, minerals, syrup tubs, cubes, troughs and fences they
destroy is too much for us. We were also able to buy a smaller (and more affordable) squeeze chute to accommodate our minis.
6. Safety...Mini cows are still large animals but the difference in comfort level is priceless for us. I can't even see over the big girls! Being in the pasture with all the cows, we see and feel the difference and same goes for working them in the
chute. For us, minis are the only choice.
7. Tax exemption...Why not reduce your tax liability (property and sales tax) and add a whole lot of cute to your land?
There are many breeds, sizes and colors to choose from. We are not the experts yet but we are always willing to share our experience and our network because we genuinely believe miniature cattle is the way.