PDCA - One Blog

Welcome to the first Dexter cattle blog to disseminate information for members of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America (PDCA) and for those with a curiosity about Irish Dexter cattle, cattle in general, as well as news from the PDCA. Expressions of opinion are to not be regarded as expressing the official opinion of the PDCA unless expressly stated. Hopefully you will find something here of interest and don't overlook browsing through the archives. Comments are welcomed.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Ride 'em Cowboy

Ginny & Frank Miles grandson on Dexter heifer (Maria).
Frank Miles is the PDCA Area Manager for the Southeast.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Staffordshire Kitchen

Jean Alden's Father with a Dexter Bull in 1930. The Dexter was a traditional small farmer's cow, which thrived well in a variety of conditions in Staffordshire and on a wide variety of feeds.

A Cook's Guide to Staffordshire

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Yesterday the pastures were green and this morning they're white as we had around 8 inches of heavy wet snow overnight. So add about 6 inches more of snow to this photo from the Ballymoney Farmstay and Garden in New Zealand and you'll have the picture of what Dexters look like in Missouri today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Good News

Tests Show No Mad Cow, Cattle Prices Rise

John Clifford, deputy administrator for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said on Tuesday that federal scientists conducted two final tests on the animal’s brain sample. The first test completed on Monday was negative. A second finished on Tuesday was also negative, he said.

“Negative results from both … tests make us confident that the animal in question is indeed negative for BSE,” Clifford said.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Nutritional Priorities of Cows

'Individual herds vary by breed, frame, or type (i.e., English or Continental) but their nutritional priorities are similar. When nutrient intake fulfills the highest priority requirements, the excess is used to fill lower priority requirements. When all current requirements are fulfilled, the excess is stored as fat.

Most English and Continental beef breeds tend to deposit excess fat externally (subcu-taneous), whereas dairy and Brahman-influenced breeds deposit more fat internally (KPH or mesenteric). During periods of low energy intake, excess external body fat is the first body tissue used to meet nutritional requirements. When energy is insufficient, fat stores may not be enough to fulfill requirements. When this happens, muscle (protein) is broken down to satisfy energy demand.

Cattle generally deposit external (subcutaneous) fat in the body in the following order: 1) back or loin, 2) ribs, 3) tailhead, 4) brisket, 5) flank, 6) vulva and/or rectum, 7) udder or mammary gland. When requirements exceed nutrient intake and external fat is broken down, it is utilized in the reverse order.'

Body Condition Scoring I: Managing Your Cow Herd Through Body Condition Scoring

Sunday, November 21, 2004


In the 1980's the first Pot-bellied pig sold in the U.S. for around $25,000. When people speak of price gouging the pot-bellied pig serves as the classic example of how an exploitive market can sometimes be a detriment and harmful to a breed. When a breed becomes a breeders market and anything will sell, usually anything does, and this will often attract the less scrupulous marketers to a breed. By the 90's dishonest breeders had outbred many pigs to meet the demand and bad breeding practices produced many pigs that were too large and aggressive. Bad breeding leads to a bad breed and when the pig market collapsed the unethical breeders whose only interest was the money left the breed. A few dedicated breeders remain but today you have sanctuaries set up to try to find homes to adopt a pig. So one should never stick their head in the sand like an Ostrich and ignore the reality that there are those that play rare breeds like the stock market and whose actions can be exploitive and leave a breed in a less than exotic shambles. Just as being the highest priced breed may not be a true measure of a breed's worth neither does an exorbinate price necessarily bode well for a breed's future success.

Most people expect to pay a little more for a pedigreed animal that comes from a reliable registry. There may be variations in price in accordance to regional availability and the quality of an animal's production traits and training. Some may charge a little more for a novelty such as a rare color, although color is one of the more insignificant traits of a breed. Some breeders might pursue fads and trends within a breed but a breed association should always keep the focus on production traits which lead to a breed's sustainability and conservation. Usually, valuation can be determined from a criteria of type, production records and pedigree. All purebred animals have pedigrees but pedigrees can be sometimes more useful if they come from a breeder that has established consistent desirable characteristics. Generally, this is most useful within the first four generations, which is one reason why a popular family line today may not be meaningful in the future. Breed type is usually established from showing and from records such as classification. Production can be valued from those animals that have been properly recorded. Dual-purpose cattle by their nature have long been considered farmers cattle which is less prone to the exorbitant prices that may exist in some of the more specialized breeds. Dexters in particular have been in recent times attractive to homesteaders and usually priced accordingly. Early Dexter breeders in America disallowed the use of the term "miniature" in association advertising perhaps because they recognized this is a term that might make others view the breed as a novelty as opposed to being a small productive breed of cattle.

The purebred cattle business can be rewarding but those entering the purebred cattle business to become wealthy are likely to be disappointed. Breeders can and should expect a fair price but always with an ethical breed overview of a breed's honest valuation.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


I was reading about earlier English agriculture and thought this link might be of interest to some.

"In matters of live-stock the impulse towards the selection and standardisation of a pure breeding strain under the care of a Breed Society, which had been one of the chief achievements of English farming in the nineteenth century, was still active, as witness the formation of the following Societies--The Guernsey Cattle Society in 1885, the Dexter and Kerry Handbook in 1890, the Welsh Black Cattle Society in 1904, the British Holstein (now Friesian) Cattle Society in 1909. Flock Books began for Shropshires in 1883, Oxfords in 1889, Hampshires in 1890, Lincolnshires in 1892, Romney Marsh in 1895 and many others. Though from some points of view it might be questioned whether all these new breeds were wanted, the formation of a Society did tune up the general standard in the district occupied by the breed. The chief development during the period was concerned with milk, the demand for which was continuously increasing with the growing population and industrial prosperity. The milking capacity of the various breeds received more attention; for example, during this period the Dairy Shorthorns began to be differentiated and in 1905 an Association was formed in its interests, and herds like those of Hobbs and Evens obtained a repute to rival the northern beef herds. The necessity for care and cleanliness in the preparation and despatch of milk to the public was being continually forced upon the farmers by the Health Authorities of the large towns, who had from time to time experience of milk distributed epidemics. Regulations were enforced concerning such matters as water supply and air space in cowsheds, and if at times they were uninformed and dictatorial about the unessentials, they did arouse in the dairy world the sense that success in this growing business depended upon the purity of the product. It was indeed in the 'eighties that the process of butter and cheese making, hitherto a matter of traditional and personal farm practice, were studied and standardised. At the same time the correct temperatures and acidities were determined so that the desired result could be obtained with certainty. "Creameries" and cheese factories began to be established in order to handle milk more efficiently and economically. The importations of butter from Denmark and the Baltic countries was growing rapidly and setting a standard of quality and uniformity that neither the English nor the Irish market butter could equal, however much a dairymaid here and there could turn out a "gilt-edged" product such as can never be obtained by factory methods."

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Dexter Cattle Breed

Our Dexter cattle are of an ancient Irish breed. It is a little cow, which is only about a meter high at the shoulders and which in build and height resembles the cattle kept by Iron Age and Viking Age peasants for up to 2000 years ago. It has survived in remote regions of Ireland where its ability to make do with very little and its good nature have been highly valued. It is a robust animal not requiring much winter feed and at the same time producing a lot of milk. These small cows were the "poor man's cow" and the bones of this small breed are often found as offerings in the Viking graves in Denmark.

Domestic Animals at the Lejre Experimental Centre

Thursday, November 18, 2004


"The purebred livestock business is based upon the integrity of its participants. Integrity goes deeper than mere honesty. Honesty may consist of the negative virtue of not doing wrong. Integrity is based upon the inherent desire to do right as between man and man because of the instinctive feeling that this is the plane upon which human relations are best conducted."

Claude H. Hinman

Just for fun...

Cow Games

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Elvis has left the building !

PDCA Editor, Patrice Lewis, has announced that the PDCA Record has been sent to the printers. Allow a couple of weeks for printing and then add whatever length of times it takes for the mail service to deliver your issue to your place.

Patrice has done a great job putting together this inaugural issue which ended up being 32 pages. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy and I hope PDCA members will find theirs to be informative and interesting to read. Who knows, perhaps a hundred years from now this first issue will become a collector’s item for those like myself that collect all things Dexter.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

PDCA Website Advertising

Classified ads are now available for PDCA members on the Association's website. Prices for advertisements are $7.00 for a quarterly listing, $20.00 for an annual listing and $5.00 to add a photo.

If you have Dexter cattle that you'd like to advertise you can find information now listed on the PDCA Website.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

PDCA - Small Farm Today

Saturday was a beautiful day here and I was getting ready to head down the road to Boonville when I got a call from my 82 year old mother saying that her red engine light was staying on. I went and checked it out and ended up replacing the radiator. No more miles than her Oldsmobile has on it I was surprised that it was worn out but I guess they don't make plastic radiators like they used to.

I did get a report from the Small Farm Today Dexter exhibit and there was a good group of Dexter breeders in attendence. Plans are already being formulated in putting together another Dexter exhibit in combination with some of the ALBC people for this coming year. Great crowds and lots of PDCA brochures were distributed.

So all in all, it was a productive day for PDCA breeders and for mom who now has a new radiator.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

This week...

Just a reminder that there will be Dexter cattle exhibited at the 12th National -
Small Farm Trade Show & Conference™
November 4-6, 2004

Boone County Fairgrounds, Columbia, Missouri
(heated exhibition hall)
For more information about the largest annual small farm conference and trade show in the United States, call 800-633-2535 or visit the

Small Farm Today website.

So if you're able to attend either this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, look for Dean & Rosemary's Dexters in conjunction with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy exhibit. I plan to be there Saturday and so if you want to avoid me make plans to attend early. If you haven't attended before this is a really good event and so I hope to see you there.

PDCA - One Google