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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Cow Depot

Mostly black & white bovines but an udderly moovelous selection of cow gifts.

Cow Depot

Little cow soap

Sunday, July 30, 2006


This "Breeds of Beef Cattle" poster is available from the Ontario Cattlemen's Association.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Royal Welsh Show - UK

Click here to find out more about the Royal Welsh Show 2006
T Drew's heifer Higher Keaton Ruby; res, M P Eagling's heifer Mostyn Beauty.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Farmer crushed by tractor

UK FARMER is seriously ill after being crushed by a tractor.

'Jan McCourt whose Northfield Farm in Cold Overton is nationally renowned for the quality of its meat, was airlifted to hospital in agony and is awaiting surgery. Farm spokesman Jo Allen said Jan had broken his pelvis and suffered internal bruising. "He is on an intravenous drip," she added. "Surgeons have delayed an operation until today because he is still in trauma." Jan, 47, earned national headlines 10 years ago when he gave up his job as a City stockbroker to run the 70-acre "rare breed" farm at Cold Overton, where the stock includes Dexter cattle and Gloucester Old Spot pigs.'

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Green" Beef Catches On

"Green" Beef Catches On

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Principles of Milking

The Babcock Institute provides some useful dairy information such as about lactation and milking.
Figure 1: Milk ejection reflex-when the cow is stimulated by touch on the udder skin, the sound of a milking machine or the sight of a calf, nerve impulses pass to the hypothalamus in the brain. The hypothalamus stimulates the posterior pituitary gland to discharge oxytocin. Blood carries this hormone to the myoepithelial cells that surround the alveoli. The contraction of the myoepithelial cells forces the milk into the duct system and the gland cistern. Excitement or pain inhibit the milk ejection reflex.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Full feeding of beef cattle in drought

NSW Department of Primary Industries links to the following:

Full drought feeding principles
Vitamin and mineral additives for sheep and cattle in drought
Calculating quantities for full hand feeding of beef cattle
Feeding triggers
Full hand feeding management of beef cattle
Production feeding in drought
Checklist for good beef cattle health and management in drought
Survival feeding in drought
Grain poisoning of cattle and sheep
Feeding pelleted rations
Value of feeds
Cane tops as cattle fodder
Hand feeding cattle in drought — grain
Hand feeding cattle in drought — grain/hay
Feeding calves in drought
Risks in grazing or feeding canola
Processing grains for cattle in drought

Monday, July 24, 2006

What were they thinking?

The History Channel video: Cownicorn

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Kent Show Results

UK -

Interbreed KG Freeman and Son's Holstein cow Quality Raider Franbo; res, Buriton Estate's Limousin heifer Miscombe Vanthe.
Interbreed Group Holstein; res, Hereford.

Interbreed Buriton Estate's Limousin heifer Miscombe Vanthe; res, M Hind's Sussex cow Maplesden Snowdrop 20.
Blonde Jones and Garratt's cow Egerton Pandora; res, P de Giles' bull Bilsington Argent.
Charolais R Taylor's bull Burnside Taz; res, RL Potter's heifer Coningsby Ursula.
Simmental CH Carter's bull Astcote Ranger; res, D Wakefield's heifer Oakhill Nelly 17.
Hereford Messrs B, H and MR Myers' heifer Boundless 1 Symphony; res, P Noel and R Snelling's bull Sarabande Bafca.
Limousin Buriton Estates' heifer Miscombe Vanthe; res, Thorndean Farms' bull Quaish Volcano.
Longhorn SE Coleman's bull Blackbrook Newt; res, GH Wild's cow Rifhams Belle.
Sussex M Hind's cow Maplesden Snowdrop 20; res, CE and WS Milson's heifer Trottenden Buttercup 6.
Any Other Native Wetland Trust's Aberdeen Angus bull Rosemead Bill B229; res, W Murphy's Gloucester cow Castlemast Cherrypie.
Crossbred Beef Rupert Taylor's Limousin cross heifer Mini Me; res, Messrs J Wareham and Sons' Limousin cross steer Cheeky.

Interbreed KG Freeman and Son's Holstein cow Quality Raider Franbo; res, JPMH Evelyn's junior Jersey cow Wotton Lemvigs Willow.
Ayrshire MDM and J Howie's junior cow Ridley Hill Lillet; res, Boty Farms' junior cow Haresfoot Bo Peep.
Dexter PW Hunt's cow Saltaire Sharp; res, DL Smith's maiden heifer Moomin Jinglebell.
Holstein KG Freeman and Son's cow Quality Raider Franbo; res, JR Warnock and Sons' junior cow Capelleferne Dante Nerissa P14.
Channel Island JPMH Evelyn's junior Jersey cow Wotton Decadences Yolande; res, JPMH Evelyn's junior Jersey cow Wotton Lemvigs Willow.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A little rain & cooler temps

Dexter cow grazing with calf

Friday, July 21, 2006

Return to the good life

UK - Return to the good life

'Susannah will take green-top milk and hand-made butter to market each week, and she may use the cellars in the house to make cheese, because Badlesmere Blue has rather a nice ring to it. Ivon will grow sweet peas and together they will put Dexter cattle in the paddocks for organic beef. "It's best not to think about how much work is involved because otherwise you would never do it," she says.'

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Source: NOAA National Climatic Data Center

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Facts About the Bull Semen Industry

(AP) - Five companies do 95 percent of the collecting and distributing of bull semen in the U.S. They are Wisconsin-based ABS Global, Alta Genetics, Cooperative Resources International and Accelerated Genetics, and Plain City, Ohio-based Select Sires Inc.

Artificial insemination is mostly used in dairy cattle because farmers keep them in pens and can better monitor their heat, compared to beef cattle which typically roam pastures.

The conception rates with artificial insemination, done properly, and the natural process are comparable at about 65 to 70 percent.

It's also recently become possible for farmers to pick the offspring's sex, but it's more expensive.

Continue... Facts About the Bull Semen Industry

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

'Keep cattle cool when humidity, temps rise'

LINCOLN—No wind along with high humidity and temperatures can spell disaster for cattle if proper procedures aren’t taken to ward off heat stress, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln beef specialist said.

During summer’s hot, humid days, producers need to make sure cattle have plenty of water, said Terry Mader, beef specialist at UNL’s Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord.

“Water is probably the best avenue to dissipate heat,” Mader said. “The cattle don’t have to be thirsty, but if they can consume water and pass that out as urine it removes a lot of heat from the animal in the process.”

Mader said normally cattle intake about 5 to 6 gallons per day depending on the animal. However, that can double or even triple in some feedlots when temperatures rise.

“It’s important that cattle have plenty of access to the water trough as well,” he said. “When there is competition for water space, that creates problems because the dominant animals will occupy waterer space and not allow other animals access.”

Wetting pen surfaces also is beneficial for cooling animals by providing a cool place for cattle to go. Dry surfaces in feedlots can reach temperatures of 150 degrees, he said. Wetting these surfaces cools them down. These surfaces will remain cooler until the added water evaporates, which sometimes can take more than 24 hours.

In an emergency, cattle can be sprayed with water to cool them down. However, once producers start doing that, they need to continue spraying. Spraying cattle with water will allow the animal to rapidly dissipate heat through evaporative cooling processes but this may limit the animals’ ability to adapt to the heat. That’s why it should only be used as an emergency step, Mader said.

Producers also should have an emergency plan in case water supplies are low or cut off.

“Have a plan for obtaining water that is safe for cattle to drink if an emergency should arise,” he said.

Also, be sure there aren’t any structures that restrict airflow.

It’s important to remember that cattle will adapt to weather conditions if they are given enough time, he said.

Usually it’s the rapid changes in weather that cause the biggest problems, Mader said.

“For most animals, give them three to four weeks to adapt to extremes, reduce feed intake, which will therefore reduce the metabolic heat load. Cattle won’t perform as well, but at least they’ll still be alive,” he said.

The first sign of heat stress in cattle is them standing up. This allows them to expose more of their body surface to dissipate heat. Cattle also will bunch when they are hot, and flies and other stressors will only compound the problem, Mader said.

Avoid handling cattle when it’s hot, Mader said. If it is necessary to process cattle, the earlier in the morning the better. Cattle’s body temperatures can rise 0.5 to 3.5 degrees during handling. Cattle that arrive at a packing plant with elevated temperatures can result in carcass defects.

Mader also suggests feeding cattle most of the day’s feed several hours after the day’s peak temperature in the late afternoon or evening.

Avoid filling up cattle with feed late in the morning when the added heat generated by digestion will peak around the hottest time of the day, he said.

“We see the greatest stress problems when cattle consume large amounts of feed in the morning, then body temperatures shoot up in the afternoon and environmental temperatures rise rapidly,” Mader said.

Also, remember dark-hided cattle are more susceptible to heat stress than light-hided cattle, he said.

“So, watch for the first signs of heat stress in dark-hided cattle that are within 30 to 60 days of slaughter,” he said.

Lowering the energy content in feed also may reduce the amount of heat cattle generate during digestion and may help the animal cope with heat stress.

Monday, July 17, 2006

U.S. Drought Monitor

Drought Monitor

Click on map to enlarge

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Day the Cow Sneezed

The Day the Cow Sneezed is a children's book from 1957 written and illustrated by the late James Flora. The book is described as a very tall tale about a cow whose gigantic sneezes cause a glorious escapade of havoc and destruction. Ward Jenkins has an excellent write up about Jim Flora’s children’s book The Day the Cow Sneezed on his blog. Lots of great information pertaining to Flora's illustration and/or design.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Moo Cow Moo

Moo Cow Moo
By Edmund Vance Cooke

My papa held me up to the Moo Cow Moo
So close I could almost touch,
And I fed him a couple of times or so,
And I wasn't a fraid-cat, much.

But if my papa goes in the house,
And my mamma she goes in too,
I keep still like a little mouse
For the Moo Cow Moo might Moo.

The Moo Cow's tail is a piece of rope
All raveled out where it grows;
And it's just like feeling a piece of soap
All over the Moo Cow's nose.

And the Moo Cow Moo has lots of fun
Just switching his tail about,
But if he opens his mouth, why then I run,
For that's where the Moo comes out.

The Moo Cow Moo has deers on his head,
And his eyes stick out of their place,
And the nose of the Moo Cow Moo is spread
All over the Moo Cow's face.

And his feet are nothing but fingernails,
And his mamma don't keep them cut,
And he gives folks milk in water pails,
When he don't keep his handles shut.

But if you or I pull his handles, why
The Moo Cow Moo says it hurts,
But the hired man sits down close by
And squirts, and squirts, and squirts.

Early children's nursery rhyme that first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1903. Interesting that it was a "his" instead of a "her" tail.

Friday, July 14, 2006

CyberSpace Farm

Fun site with beef and dairy trivia.

- CyberSpace Farm -

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Grazing America 2006"

"Grazing America 2006"

Colorado Springs, Colorado

July 20, 21 and 22, 2006

Conference includes ranch tours,

processing tours, chef demos, information on:

Grazing/livestock management


Connecting with your consumers

Ranch Economics

Certification programs and much, much more!!!

Conference registration and information is available at the
American Grassfed Association

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Ohio’s cow a Texan

'Though you wouldn’t know it to look at her, the Ohio State Fair butter cow has been sculpted for the past five years with butter from Keller’s Creamery in Winnsboro, Texas.'

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cattle FAQ'S

Answers to some common questions from the Texas Cooperative Extension Veterinary Medicine website -

Cattle FAQ'S.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Milking Dexters"

PDCA members and subscribers will find in the current issue of "The Record" a couple of really useful Dexter milking articles such as this one by the owner of the Woodmagic herd.

Milking Dexters
by Beryl Rutherford

Recently there has been a trend towards breeding the Dexter purely for beef, ignoring its high potential for milk. In Britain today, this has been aggravated by the organisation of collection of milk by the big dairies, with the accent on size of load for the tanker. Nevertheless, there is still room for the small herd, which caters for a niche product, such as cheese or yoghurt. Commercial milk production for the liquid milk market is ruled out, the comparative overheads make the Dexter uncompetitive, compared to 300 cow Holstein herds, and I doubt whether the Dexter owner would find today’s environment in any way attractive.

In the case of the smallholder, requiring milk for the house, the Dexter, for its size, performs better than many of the bigger breeds. Providing it keeps to its original size of around 6 cwt, it is perfectly possible to keep two Dexters in the place of one of a bigger breed. If the two calvings are correctly spaced out, they can give a supply throughout the year, instead of being flooded out for three months, and left high and dry for at least two.

When I maintained a milking herd of between 40 and 60 animals, my average would have been around 2½ gallons. My best cow yielded a top daily amount of only 3½ gallons, but would still be giving around 2 gallons when I was desperately trying to dry her off, with only weeks before her next calving. She gave me three successive lactations of 800 gallons. The persistency of yield is one of the Dexter’s strong points, and is obviously an advantage in the case of a house cow. A modest daily yield requires less expensive feeding, since she will supply most of the milk through her normal daily maintenance requirements.

When she calves, she should not be milked out for the first four days, the calf will probably stick to one quarter at this time, the other three should be slackened off, to an increasing amount, and after four days they can be milked out. I prefer to leave my house cow to rear her calf, so I let them run together, and take all excess milk once daily. If you decide to rear the calf away from the cow, you will need to milk twice daily, as near as possible at twelve hour intervals. Leaving the calf to suckle is much less stressful for both of you.

Once the calf starts to take too large a share, usually when about a month old, I shut the calf away from its mother by night, letting it run with her during the day. In the morning, I put the calf to cow, let it suck one quarter out, grab mum and milk her promptly, while the ‘let down’ mechanism is still functioning. Other-wise she may ‘save it for the calf.’ This is a hormonal action, and is not something the cow has conscious control over. In the absence of a calf, ‘let down’ can be encouraged by other pleasurable sensa-tions, such as feeding corn, or massaging the udder.

According to whether it is summer or winter, I wean the calf between six and seven months, and carry on milking the dam until eight weeks before she is due to calve again. To wean, I prefer to cut the calf down to every other day for a week, and then usually another two feeds, at three-day intervals. When I dry the mother off, I milk every other day for a week, and it is probably a good idea to put an antibiotic into each quarter, after the last milking, to ensure you don’t run into mastitis. Some breeders prefer instant weaning and drying off; I feel the graduation is nearer to nature.

Try to find a local expert who can give you advice on feeding before calving; the wrong diet can risk milk fever at calving. Feeding too high a calcium diet, thus preventing her maximising the available calcium when she calves, can exacerbate this. A first calver will not be likely to have problems, since she can draw on some of the calcium in her bones. In feeding, I put the emphasis on starch, feeding too much protein can give problems, and it is definitely not the diet for a Dexter.

Dexters have an inheritance of centuries of neglect, running semi-wild in the hills of Ireland, and should not give you many management problems. They will repay you by giving high quality and naturally homogenised milk, with a butterfat of around 4%. You can keep yourself in milk, cream, and butter, with the minimum of outlay and effort.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another early reference to color...

Thomas Shaw (1843-1918), in "The study of breeds in America: cattle, sheep and swine" gave the following description of color which seems to contradict Lydekker's "without a light dorsal streak" and makes no mention of either red or roan:

"The color most in favor is a rich black with, in some instances, a ridge of white along the back and a white streak under the belly, but some are black, brown, black and white and brown and white."

Silver Dexter newborn that will become dun colored.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Shades of Dun

I've had a lot of people ask about the white looking Dexter calves on the cover of The Record. The dun color ranges from blonde to dark brown. Paler duns become more sun bleached during the summer and in certain light may appear almost white. Here's the same photo as the cover from a different angle with the calf's dams upper left:

Just to further confuse the issue of color, two early Dexter references report the color as "roan" rather than "dun":

"The color is variable, and may be black, red or roan." Page 380 of "Cyclopedia of American agriculture: a popular survey of agricultural conditions, practices and ideals in the United States and Canada: Volume III. Animals 1907-1909" by L. H. Bailey, 1858-1954.

"Dexter-Kerries are either black, red, or roan in colour, without a light dorsal streak;" page 96 of "The ox and its kindred" by Richard Lydekker, published in 1912.

Friday, July 07, 2006

ALBC Conservation Priority List (2006) - Cattle


Ancient White Park


Dutch Belted

Florida Cracker


Milking Devon


Randall or Randall Lineback


Red Poll



Belted Galloway



Milking Shorthorn


Devon (Beef)



Fewer than 200 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 2,000.
Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 5,000.
Watch: Fewer than 2,500 annual registrations in the United States and estimated global population less than 10,000. Also included are breeds that present genetic or numerical concerns or have a limited geographic distribution.
Recovering: Breeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded Watch category numbers but are still in need of monitoring.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Record - Summer 2006

50 plus Dexter pages are working their way across the country...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hay in a Day

Mark Muir discovered this website from Cornell University that has some very interesting information about how hay dries. If you can't download it, there is a cd you can order (listed on the left side of page).

Silage Swath Management for Maximum Quality

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Moving cattle quietly out of a gate.

Temple Grandin

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mother ~

Donna Henry Lintz

November 16, 1919 - June 28, 2006

PDCA - One Google