Last month we welcomed two new Dexter Cows to the farm. Their arrival marked the much anticipated return of cows to Mudchute and we’re delighted to be able to share a little more about Dora and Delilah. Visitors may have been surprised at the size of our petite new cows, which is characteristic of their breed. Dexter Cattle are the smallest British breed of cattle. Dexters trace their origins to the South Western region of Ireland and were first documented in an 1845 report on Irish cattle. The breed have been in England since 1882 and were first shown at the Royal Show at Norwich in 1886.
Dexters are bred for both their meat and milk and are described as a “dual-purpose” breed. They are known for both early maturation and longevity. They produce a rich milk that is relatively high in butterfat (4%), similar to that of a Jersey cow. A Dexter cow can produce 2-2.5 gallons (7.6-9.5 litres) per day.
Dexters have thick curved horns, but can also be polled (have their horns removed). You will note that one of our cows (Delilah) has horns, while the other (Dora) is polled. Dexters come in three solid colours, black, red and dun, with the most common being black. The breed comes in both a short-legged and non-short variety. Our cows are of the short-legged variety and have notably short stature.
You can find out more about Dexter cattle from the Dexter Cattle Society and find more photos below.