Tiny land? Not a lot of room on your farm? No worries! Believe it or not, you don't have to have normal sized cows to enjoy milk. Miniature cows produce milk just like standard size cows, but need less space and don't damage your land as much as normal cattle might. Plus, miniature cows are adorable. This is a win-win situation, folks.
If you're looking for a cute addition to your hobby farm or ranch, look no further than miniature cows. These little guys have all the standard cow benefits, only in a tiny package. These small-breed bull cows generally stand at 36 to 42 inches at the hip, which means they are about half the size of a full-size cow. Raised well, they make great pets and can be a perfect homesteading opportunity for small families. That said, there is a drawback--these mini breeds don't come cheap.
Some cows like miniature Zebu cows start at $1,000 but Highlands can go for up to $6,500 per calf. First time cattle buyers may get sticker shock if they are unprepared for the price.
Like any animal, there are a ton of unique breeds that make up the mini cow community. Here are some of our favorite miniature cattle breeds.
1. Miniature Belted Galloway
Oreo cows come in mini versions. Seriously! Belted Galloway cows are hardy in the winter with their double shaggy coats that they shed in the summer. They were originally bred in Scotland and can do well in both warm and cold climates. Look for the characteristic white belt to pick out Belties from the crowd.
2. Dexter Mini Cow
Dexters are mini by nature. Dexter cattle were bred in Ireland and are smaller by nature due to the lack of resources in mountains where they originated. They were dubbed "The Poor Man's Cow" because they don't take much to raise, so they're ideal for homesteading. They grow to about 36-44 inches, so mini for a cow.
3. Jersey Mini-Cows
Island cows! Jersey cows come from Jersey Island in Britain. Islands don't have that much room for large, grazing herds so miniature Jersey cows were bred to be smaller for the small acreage available. Mini Jerseys don't get bigger than 42 inches at the hip. They'll make wonderful additions to your small farm!
4. Miniature Herefords
Fuzzy minis! Mini Herefords are a reasonable size and fluffy to boot! Not only are they docile and make good pets, but they'll help mow your grass, provide good fertilizer, and can be entered into cow shows at fairs.
5. Miniature Texas Longhorn Cow
Mini hook 'em horns! Texas Longhorns are famous for their huge horns. In 1990, the smallest Longhorns were bred together and the miniature version was born. Miniature Texas Longhorns have all the same attributes as their larger counterparts but aren't as aggressive, making them great companion animals.
6. Miniature Zebu Cow
Mini India cows! Miniature zebus are noticeable by the hump behind their head and are thought to be the oldest cattle breed in the world, originating in India. These small cattle are friendly and make good companions on smaller farms. Their milk is also very high in butterfat content. Brahman cattle are a breed branching from the Zebu.
7. Mini Holsteins
It's a mini milk cow! Holsteins are best known for their milk production. Mini Holsteins can give you two to three gallons a day! With minis you won't need as much room, as they don't eat as much. This keeps feed costs down, and they are also gentle and easier to handle. They make for a great little family milk cow!
8. Miniature Scottish Highland Cow
Mini furballs! Scottish Highland cows are known best for their luscious locks. When they are entered into shows at fairs their handlers are even known to oil and blow-dry their hair. Miniature Highland cattle are well adapted to cold weather, and are a hardy breed. Their small size makes them great little pets who often love to cuddle.
9. Lowline Angus
This Australian cow breed is docile and perfect for meat production. Just like the Hereford, this breed was created by using the smallest possible cows to combine into one ultra tiny breed.
10. Miniature Panda Cows
Not to be confused with belted galloways, these tiny cows are a very rare breed. Besides the belt of white, these cows sport spots around their eyes, much like pandas. Unfortunately, this cattle breed can cost just about as much as a new car, so prepare your wallet!
It's up to you to do your research on quality miniature cattle breeders and farms, but the good news is that there are plenty of them here in the United States for you to choose from. Reference the International Miniature Cattle registry for more info on where to find these miniature bovines.
Do you have a miniature cow? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page!
This post was originally published on October 1, 2020.
READ MORE: From Dairy to Beef Cows, How Long Do They Live?
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