Red Dexter X Devon Cattle
These attractive mahogany red cattle are my own breed variety that I have been developing over the past 15-20 years, by crossing Dexters with Red Devons to achieve an ideal small dual purpose cow for small farms. I have always been a fan of Red Devon cattle from North Devon in south-west England, as they are a medium-sized beef breed which are docile and produce the most superb marbled beef from poor forage. They are adaptable and hardy and great for farming in tough climates. They were originally an enduring feature of small family farms where they were kept for milk, beef and for ploughing oxen. Their NZ heritage is that they were used in oxen teams to pull the kauri logs out and plough the land in the early pioneer days. They calve easily as they have smaller calves which then grow on quickly on their dam’s rich milk, the milk that is famous for producing Devon clotted cream.
However, superb as the Red Devon is, it is still too heavy for the wetness of our land in New Zealand winters, if we want to retain our soil structure and function. Therefore I have been using the even smaller Dexter crossed with the Devon to produce lines of beef cattle which retain all the good features of both breeds, and are ideal for our climate and conditions here in NZ. The type of cattle that I have been developing are docile, hardy, good foragers, good mothers, good beef producers, and have the dexter adaptation of larger feet on a smaller frame which gives them a lower weight ratio per hoof, and much less pugging damage on our pastures. They are intermediate in size between a Red Devon and Dexter, having a longer leg than most dexters. The carcass size of a 2 year old steer or heifer is about two-thirds to half that of your average NZ beefie, making them easier to get into the modern freezer or share amongst family & friends.
Having been developed in our organic farming system, these cattle have a naturally robust constitution and so are ideal for anyone wanting to try to farm more biologically. They are particularly good for first time or inexperienced farmers, their smaller size and docile, tractable natures making them easier to handle and gain confidence. Heifers wanted for house cows can be purchased straight off their dams for early handling, and being from Dexter & Red Devon origins they will give prolific high quality organic milk.