cows are big hit with Milan couple
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: www.minibeltie.org.
Information on the Zebu breed can be found by visiting: www.rollingprairiefarm.com/miniaturezebucattle.htm.
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.