Today we fulfilled a very long term dream to have our own cows. After a considerable amount of research, we decided the Dexter breed was most suited to our needs for both milk and meat. Dexters are one of the smallest naturally occurring small breeds (as opposed to human directed miniature breeds), they are healthy, robust, have few of the problems that other dairy breeds have, can produce anywhere from 6 litres to 16 litres of milk per day depending on the individual as well as producing a very fine, low fat meat (something that is very important with G's medical condition). Being smaller, Dexters also eat less and have less of a negative impact on the pasture than do larger breeds. Obviously, they produce a smaller carcass weight, but in all honesty, who wants to keep more than 150kg of beef in the freezer at any one time?
Added to all those benefits, Dexters are also known to be a gentle and calm breed of cattle, ideal for first time cow owners. And as you can see from the photos, they are just so damn cute! Matilda is already happily eating apples and slobbering all over my hand, Charlotte is still more reserved and has not let me touch her yet, but I suspect that may have something to do with a little trauma getting her on the float (she just didn't want to go first - Matilda walked into the horse float easily and Charlotte finally followed her but only after getting tangled in the fence panel, breaking the tail light in the float, escaping back to the other cows and then being pushed through the cattle yard maze). I have no doubt that bribery in the way of food will win her affection in no time;)
Both girls travelled extremely well for the hour long trip home, and reversed quietly and calmly off the float as if they had done it a thousand times before (we learnt from the first experience and let Matilda come off first - watching them in the paddock, it looks like she is boss cow).
They can definitely do with some more weight as they are a little light on due to lack of feed due to this drought, but I'm sure it won't take long.