- Belted Galloway
- Panda Cow
- Lowline angus
- Texas Longhorn
- Miniature Highland
As well, this book goes over some of the benefits of miniatures of all types and how they can be beneficial to your homestead.
- Space: Okay, so it’s abundantly clear that dairy cows are big, but let’s talk about the size difference between a mini and a traditional cow. Minis range in size at three years of age from 36″ in height to a maximum of 48″. This is one-half to one-third the size of normal cattle. A traditional dairy cow can weigh over 1300 pounds and stands close to 5 feet tall. A mini-Jersey breed, on the other hand, weighs about 400-500 pounds and is about 3 feet tall. A smaller cow means a smaller space commitment (for both housing and grazing) overall—suddenly, the idea of having a dairy cow becomes feasible even for people with small homesteads.
- Feed Conversion: These petite cows need only half an acre for grazing and a third of a ton of feed per year (as opposed to full-sized counterparts who need more than a ton of feed per year), yet minis still produce 50-75% as much milk as the bigger cows. This makes the feed conversion rate outstanding and efficient for a smaller farm or homestead.
- Safer for families: The sheer size of a typical dairy cow means many precautions need to be taken to handle the animals. Younger kids who might otherwise be intimidated by a regular-sized cow can help with the daily care/maintenance of a mini. Children should, of course, always be supervised around livestock, but a cow the size of a large dog is definitely a safer bet for those with families.
- Gentle nature: It’s more than only size that makes mini cows so easy to handle and get along with—they are particularly docile and gentle. They do less damage to pastures/fences when they walk, and many owners compare them in nature to golden retrievers.
Initial cost may be the only downside to owning mini cows—they can be $1,000-$2,000 more than a traditional dairy cow; however, when you do the math, the investment into feed + dairy output + accommodations over time likely still make minis worth it for your family. Adding another layer of self-reliance to your homestead is always beneficial, as we never know what the future holds, and for those nervous about making the leap to “farmer,” the mini cow could be a great first step.