Dexter as family milker.

Baymule

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Minis can get fat on air. LOL Minis should only get about a cup or less of feed daily. They are the cutest! Are they both jennys or is one a jack?

If possible, build a small 2-compartment pen to feed them in, that way, you could separate them out.
 

WildRoseBeef

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Have you tried putting the heifer with the goats? She might do better with them than with the donkeys, because donkeys, like horses, are just as bad about harassing others not of their own kind as horses can be, and can be really mean when feeding time comes around. They will hog the feed, kicking and biting at anyone they don't feel they should be sharing with, leaving them to get fat on the feed and the others without or very little. She might do better with the goats, and they'll be less of a worry for her than those donkeys. Just a suggestion, but might be worth thinking about.
 

Sweetened

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We have friends who raise black dexters and they are 100% grass and alfalfa hay fed. They milk them once a day and leave calves on for the afternoon, seperating at night. He gets a gallon a day off each dexter without supplement.

Their milk tastes different from other breeds, i find it a lot like goat milk in that if it doesnt cool quickly, it tastes like cow smells. It has smaller globules of cream and is considered more homoginized than other cows because of that, it takes longer to seperate, which is a non issue with mechanical seperation and i find it takes longer to turn into butter but the butter is bright orange in the summer!

Though i wouldnt recommend doing it alone the first few times, i do agree backing away from her when she swings her head is the wrong choice. Another, dominant cow (YOU) would hit or push back and say "DONT" to command respect.

All of my animals here are handled as their species would. My ram stomped at me when i first got him and was training him to a leash and he was put on his rear end faster than he could figure out ( because I am the dominant ram ), and hes NEVER tried anything again. Pushy goats are the same thing, they bunt me, even kids, theyre put in their butts, just gently with the kids. They dont do it again, because you establish your place in the herd. Those that dont yeild here are sold (with detail on why) or culled if theyre bad enough to not rehome. Seems a bit harsh, but when i have company over, or people watching the farm, or children, everything here MUST recognize human = dominant herd/flock/pack member. Its safer, imho. Maybe harsh to some, but in my few years experience it has worked and benefitted everything we do.
 

Moody

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I will try the heifer with the goats. I have to put in a gate first. I also want to start halter training. I just think it is best to be able to handle them easier than just hoping they will run to the feed bucket if necessary.

I didn't get her particularly for milk but I thought that was a nice bonus. I was hoping to get good cream for butter. I just want to shake it in a mason jar. May not bed able to easily do that from what you say. Orange butter does not sound tasty, lol. We need a second heifer. Maybe mini jersey would suit my butter making craving better.

I totally agree that I need to ensure she doesn't think she is dominant over me. I am new to cows though so I am a bit afraid. Dh said I need to not turn to the side, either, but face her head on.

My buck put his feet up on my back yesterday. I gave him a good shove and he backed off like I hurt him. At least he seems to respect me.
 

Sweetened

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Oh hon! Orange butter is HEALTHY! most butter you buy in the store has dye in it to give you that yellow tinge because its so pale.

I used a mason jar for butter when i had a cow share with them, i just let the butter sit over night, still took a looong time. We have chosen to get a jersey as well, but we can expect 6 gallons a day from her when she freshens, and though i can drink a gallon a day to myself, we will be overwhelmed, and our pigs and chickens FAT.

Good job with your buck! If my buck comes up slowly for chest scratches, ill allow him up, but any jumping on the back is a hard push down. Happened once with our lottle buckling, his mother had ( had ) that habit as well.

There are people here better suited to telling you about strong arming cows, my experience with it is just over a year.
 

WildRoseBeef

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Moody, how does the heifer act when you come into her pasture? Does she try to crowd you or disrespects your space (i.e., comes in when not invited)?

I think she already senses she's the dominant one because cows can really sense when someone is afraid of them or unsure of what they're doing. In the cow world, that is a sign of weakness and if you display that to that heifer, she will no doubt be dominant over you. She may be heavier than you, but you are the one who needs to feel that you are the bigger, bolder and tougher one. But note you won't be able to do to her what you or Sweetened can do with your goats or sheep. It'll be more of a psychological battle than simply physically putting her down on her rear.

Usually it's head-butting time when cows sort out their dominance issues, pushing and shoving with their heads, then when the weaker one submits a bit of a chase ensues. While you may not be able to win any shoving matches, you can attempt to establish dominance by herding her around the pen and making her go where you want to, putting pressure on parts of her shoulder and hip (not physically, more mentally, but you may have to physically if she's a bit too stupid to move for you without touching her) to make her go forward, backward, turn around, etc.

If she moves into your space without invitation, move aggressively into hers enough to make her move back and give her a bit of a surprise. It'll take more than one attempt for her to get the point that you are not to be messed with. And DO NOT BACK OFF. If you back off right after getting her to move away from your space the attempt will be futile. Stand at the point where you stopped chasing her, blow yourself up (make yourself look big, ), and give her a good hard stare. If she approaches you again, chase her again, and do the same thing. You only need to look big for a couple of seconds, and she should appear to lose interest in you and go off somewhere else, or move her head (and shoulders, ideally) away from you in submission. But don't turn your back on her even then, this dominance process may take some time, and she's always going to find times to challenge you. Make sure you're packing a PVC pipe or something similar to give her a wallop on the nose if it's absolutely necessary, like if she's being very aggressive towards you and is threatening to charge at you. Otherwise, just use it as a tool to make yourself look bigger than her. (It might boost your confidence somewhat too...)

I've had to make some no-account Holstein heifers (and many beef steers) respect me and my space the same way as I described. I would literally chase them off a short distance (or "scare" them off, either way will work, but the point is to herd them like you don't want them near you and MEAN it; and often had to repeatedly, because cattle can be a little stupid and won't get the hint the first time around, especially the young ones) until they realized they should keep a safe distance from me because I'm Boss Cow and I don't like being pushed around by a bunch of miscreants. This is especially so when I'm at any of the feeding areas or at the watering area; cattle can be very pushy when its feeding time, and if they don't know to respect your space when your putting out feed or even around them when they're eating, you have a greater chance of getting hurt.

And they learn, they get it. Your heifer will too, with persistence, consistency, and most importantly, you feeling absolutely NO fear, unsureness, nervousness, etc. that will betray your attempts to dominate. Calm and assertive is the way to go, and the way for any good leader of a pack, herd, flock, etc.

Halter training will also help establish dominance as well.

And get those horn buds tipped or taken off. Lord knows what she can do with those horns if she gets her head swinging, even if she doesn't mean to hurt you.
 
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Moody

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Actually she does not try to crowd me. She also doesn't run when I approach her. So I guess we haven't established too much in her favor, yet. I will get a PVC pipe. Shouldn't hurt much but should demand respect. Thanks so much for the detailed ways to show dominance and the things she might do in return. I will definitely put that into practice!
 

USpony

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I found in my experience with horses that it is important for me to feel confident when I am around them. If I don't feel it then I still carry myself as if I am confident. Fake it til you make it. What is rude in people society is not rude with animals. As the herd leader you have the right to move those animals around and away from you as you wish. Trust me, everyone will be happier.

If you are scared of your animals they know it before you do sometimes. The one who acts like the leader is the leader. I assume horses and cattle are similar in this since both are herd animals and it is how they communicate. The one who gives ground loses. Don't let it be you. You will be a kinder leader to them than they would be to you.
 
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