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We are very excited to be welcoming two lovely black dexter cattle to our herd here at Mudchute. The beautiful Moomin Tamarisk and her daughter Twiglet join us from Kent. Mother and daughter are black, short-legged dexters. Both cows have been shown and mum Tamarisk is a champion! They seem to like it here at Mudchute already, making friends over the fence, grazing and enjoying each other’s company.

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Before joining us, the pair were part of a larger herd, whose work included conservation grazing. Moomin dexters have even taken part in conservation grazing projects on the White Cliffs of Dover. A dexter’s small hooves and light weight make them ideal for keeping fast-growing and vigorous grasses down without compacting downland soil the way larger cattle might. Dexters are the smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles and you can find out more about them from The Dexter Cattle Society.

We are extremely grateful to Mrs. D. Smith for generously donating one of the pair to us here at Mudchute and to the Rare Breeds Survival Trust for the purchase of the other.

The exciting news doesn’t stop there either! Both mother and daughter are also pregnant, so we hope to hear the pitter patter of even tinier hooves in the autumn.

New neighbour?

New neighbour?

Meeting the neighbours.

Meeting the neighbours.

Mum and daughter relaxing after the journey.

Mum and daughter relaxing after the journey.

Settling in.

Settling in.

The newcomers approve of Mudchute grass!

The newcomers approve of Mudchute grass!


Fallen leaves make tasty treats.

Fallen leaves make tasty treats.

The leaves are changing colour and beginning to fall across the farm. Autumn has arrived on the farm! Keep an eye out for the changing leaves with bright golden leaves of lime trees and bright reds of our acers and sorbus. Falling leaves are also a seasonal treat for many of our animals who are partial to a crunchy leaf or too. No need for a leaf blower on the cow field! Dora and Delilah headed straight for the trees when let out this morning, quickly hoovering up the leaves that fell overnight.

Keep an eye out for autumnal foliage!

Keep an eye out for autumnal foliage!

Lots of crunchy leaves across the farm!

Lots of crunchy leaves across the farm!

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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.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah's petite stature.

Farmer Cliff showing Delilah’s petite stature.

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.