Dexter processing, when is too late?

jjack010

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I've got 2 dexters, 3 yr heifer and 6yr cow.

I understand it's best to process around 24-28months. Since we're past the prime, I'm looking for info to help me in case they aren't bred and need to head to the butcher.

Will the meat be different? Tough cuts forcing us to consider all ground?

Thanks for any info you can provide.
 

farmerjan

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The "filet" or backstrap or tenderloin, as it is often called will be fine for steaks... You can probably do NY strips and ribeyes on the younger animal with no problems. Realize that the "muscle groups" that get the most exercise will be the "tougher" cuts.
If you do stews or cook moist heat... then most of the roasts will work... I would certainly do stew meat... it gets cooked in some sort of liquid...===tenderness. Cube steaks get pounded quite well so will be a possibility... most are cooked in a gravy anyway...
I would do more ground beef on the older one... but again, the ribeye and the filet or tenderloin should still be pretty decent. And, anything that is going to be cooked in moist heat....stew meat.....
Face it... deer meat (venison) gets cut up into all sorts of cuts and no one asked the deer to provide proof of age..... or did they eat more of the farmers corn silage or did they rough it out in the mountain side.
You cannot get any cuts with the backbone after 30 months so no T-bones... no backbones for cooking like ribs (they have lots of meat on them)....
 

Ridgetop

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How long since the cow was bred? Is the 3 year old heifer her last calf? Dexters are a "dwarf?" breed so can't use a regular bull. Why weren't they bred? No Dexter bull in the area?

I agree that if the cow has been open for the past 3 years it would be hard to get her settled. But what about the 3 year old heifer? Is she too old to breed now? I would have kept them bred and calving.
 

farmerjan

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You can use an easy calving angus on a dexter. They are not so "mini" as to not be able to handle an easy calving bull. They should weigh in the 750+/- weight range as an adult animal... bulls a little bigger.

I had a "lowline" angus... considered more in the mini catagory... bred her angus every year. She weaned a calf off that stood near as tall as her at 7 months. Once an animal has had at least one or 2 calves, they can handle most all normal sized animals as the cow has more influence over the growth of the calf than the genetics except in extremely large breeds. I would go with any of the easier calving breeds. A Dexter can easily handle a normal jersey bull in natural service and the calves are smaller and more slender at birth... I have never seen a jersey calf over 75 lbs... they are all long and lean, slender built.
Limi's are a long lean calf also. I would stay away from herefords, simmentals, charolais for being more blocky built.
 

jjack010

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Thanks for the great information friends. They just arrived 3 days ago and are doing great. I even got a Jenny as the part of the deal just so she wouldn't be alone. There is a possibility that these two are bred. Previous owner was not 100% sure but they were both running with a bull for the past few months.

They are not registered

The six-year-old has calves a few times, I believe last year was the most recent. Not sure why the heifer has never been bred.

I was more so curious about age and processing.

So these girls are safe to be bred with an angus? That's great info my neighbor has a very healthy herd of black angus.
 

jjack010

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Here are the girls
 

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farmerjan

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I am assuming the cow is the one in the forefront? Looks like a dry cow udder. She is also a little on the thin side... I think worming would be in order. I would also want to get her in and look at her teeth, she looks like an "older cow"....
If you have a way to confine them in a chute/head catch/stanchion I would get the vet out and preg check them.... and if they are cycling or have any problems that would prevent them from breeding....

And if the neighbor has a good herd of angus, ask if he has a "heifer bull" or an easy calving bull... to use on them to produce "smaller calves"...We have 2 easy calving bulls... they are 7 and 8 yrs old so not young smaller bulls... but are very "easy breeders" (gentle on the cows and not rammy or rough) and we use them on heifers every year... yep, on 700 lb heifers and they weigh in the neighbor hood of 15-1800 lbs. Their genetics are what designate them as easy calving as their calves are never over 60-70 lbs... the heifers just "spit them right out" and they get up and go to nursing... no problems calving and have never pulled one from a heifer except one that had only 1 leg out... the other one was bent back and we had to get it straightened out and then she had it without problems. That's over the last 7-8 years... about 100 heifers I guess. Had 22 heifers calve a year ago and they just had them lickety split.
 
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