From the Ground Up - Heritage Irish Breed Makes Comeback in U.S.


Dexter cattle are a small Heritage breed that dates back to over two hundred years ago in Ireland.

They were once on the endangered list with the American Livestock Conservancy, but now thanks to a comeback, they’re not only not endangered, they've been taken off the guard list and moved to recovery.

This is due, in part, to Dexters becoming attractive to small land owners. Pam Malcuit raises Dexter cattle on the Morning Star Ranch near Iola.

“We went from five Dexters to about forty Dexters in a matter of a couple of months. The charm of the animals was that they don’t knock down fences and if fences come down they don’t leave. They like it here, so they've been real easy for us to handle, and we’re not young, so it makes it even better that we’re not going to get hurt while handling our animals.”

Malcuit says Dexters are smaller than most commercial cattle today, but they’re not miniatures.

“Your cows are going to range between six hundred and eight hundred pounds, any here from thirty six at the hip to forty, forty two. Bulls will be thirty eight to forty four, maybe even forty six at the hip. Bulls generally weigh between a thousand and maybe twelve hundred pounds, about half of what your commercial size would.”

Devin Jones and his brother David own and operate Bar None Dexters near Manvel.

“They do well in a broad variety of climates, they adjust very well and they are also very resistant to parasites, not saying you don’t have to worm at all or anything, but very minimal care as far as parasites. No calving problems even on heifers, I mean they calve on their own.

Milking’s excellent either as a mom or as a milk cow, being a dual purpose animal, there are people that use them for milking.”

Malcuit says Dexters are good beef animals.

“They are well marbled, very, very excellent beef. Grass fed or grain fed. Personally, I prefer grain fed for mine, it’s just my palate that appreciates that. I like some corn in my animals, but a lot of people prefer the grass fed and they do very well.”

Jones says people looking for Dexters will find you.

“We have customers who are always looking for Dexters to grass feed out. We’re in a health conscious society right now going more urban sprawl, more urban farms, small acreages, which the Dexters are perfect for that.”


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