(taken from ADCA)
Something for Everyone
Because of their size and number, they appeal to the miniature/novelty and rare gene protection enthusiasts. Dexter are also the perfect old-fashioned family cow. Pound for pound, Dexters cost less to get to the table, economically turning forage into rich milk and quality, lean meat.
No other bovine can satisfy such a diverse market.
Dexters Do Well In All Climates
Dexters are a hardy breed. They perform well in a variety of climates. You will find these easy-care little cows being raised successfully from Alaska to Florida, and all the States and (Canadian) Provinces in between. They are used commercially in England and South Africa, and are also popular in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
In general, these small cattle have a friendly character and low maintenance costs, as well as cost-effective, high-quality production of both meat and milk in manageable quantities. These qualities have caught the attention of many part-time and serious farmers.
Easy Care Dexters Make Farming Fun
Dexters make wonderful farm companions. Not only is the breed efficient, but size and temperament make Dexters nice to have around. The whole family will have lots of fun with these little cattle.
Dexters are listed with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which classifies them as a minor breed. Because only purebreds are accepted for registration in the American Dexter Cattle Association, the purity of the breed is maintained and the gene pool is kept intact. Owning a Dexter is like owning a little piece of history.
Dexters can be trained as oxen. This is a popular hobby along the eastern seaboard in both the United States and Canada, and Dexter oxen are proven crowd-pleasers everywhere.
Dexters are a small and safe animal for younger members in 4-H. They are smaller and less intimidating for children, so looking after a Dexter can be fun for them, and also give them the pride that comes with accomplishment.
Dexters still perform well in their original role: the family cow. Once the Dexter cow has been trained to milk, she can be easily handled by even the most timid.
Dexters Cost Half as Much to Keep
You can expect a Dexter to consume about half of what you would feed an Angus or Hereford under the same conditions. This equates to roughly half an acre of good green grass per animal, or 12 to 15 pounds of hay and a little grain per day, in temperate climates.
The temperament of Dexter bulls is generally very good. However, for those who prefer to use artificial insemination, there is a large selection of readily-available imported and domestic semen. Dexter bulls are excellent for crossing with first-calf heifers of the larger, big-boned breeds. You will lower calving weights, reduce calving problems, yet still have good-size carcasses.
Dexters Are Easy Calvers
Dexters are known for their ease of calving. The use of calf pullers is virtually unknown. Calves weigh about 45 pounds at birth, and by seven months when they are weaned, weigh between 350 and 500 pounds. Both sexes will continue to grow until five or six years of age.
The “long-leg” type live to over 20 years and continue to calve up to 16 to 18 years, on average.