Little cows are big hit with Milan couple

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

In a society where almost everything is supersized, for Maureen Sheets, Milan, good things come in small packages. Well, as small as a few miniature cows named Oreo, Sweetie Pie, Red Bull, Peanut, Izzy and Duke.

Maureen and husband, Terry, started raising miniature cattle about ten years ago with the Irish Dexter breed. Maureen said her father-in-law was getting old, but still wanted to have cattle on the farm. “The minis were a good choice for them,” she said.

Her search for minis started on the Internet researching the variety of breeds available. Maureen learned that one can put more minis per acre than the larger sized cattle.

“Prices range, with the registered breeds costing more,” said Sheets. The Sheets’ herd was purchased nearby in Batesville and near Indianapolis as well as in Western Kentucky.

Their herd is made up of both Belted Galloways and Zebu breeds. The Belted Galloway can be red, black or dun (brown) colors with a wide white band around their middles. Zebus are similar to Brahams with the hump and erect ears.

According to Maureen, minis are hardy and disease resistant needing minimal shelter during the winter. The minis on the Sheets farm are fed a 10% sweet feed, approximately 180 lbs. per month, as well as hay.

The term miniature means the animal is smaller than the standard size for their breed. Miniature cattle can be found in several sizes from the micro at less than 36 inches at the hip to mid-sized minis up to 48 inches at the hip.

Most breeds from Europe were originally smaller than the American breeds. U.S. cattle breeders started creating larger and taller cattle to satisfy the demand for larger carcasses by meat packers.

The minis are well suited for the family farm. They are easier to handle and the production of meat and milk is the ideal amount for the average family.

Minis need about a third of the pasture and feed of regular cattle and are easier on the land, fencing and equipment. The size of a mini makes it safer for children, as well as adults, to be around.

For more information on the Belted Galloway breed, visit: Information on the Zebu breed can be found by visiting:

Pictured above, Duke, a miniature Zebu, receives an affectionate pat on the neck from owner Maureen Sheets. The minis at the Sheets farm are considered pets, each with their own personality. Bigger is better is not the case with these miniature cows, according to Maureen and husband, Terry, who hope to breed and sell them in the future.