My Dexters are a real source of contentment. I bought them primarily for the quality of the meat. Theirs is more healthy, at least that is what my research suggests. They fatten off of grass/hay and don’t need grains. This makes them high in omega-3 fats (the good kind) and low in the bad fats. It is also high quality in terms of taste.
However, if I only count the meat this is an expensive hobby. I have to buy a lot of hay and I don’t get that much meat each year, yet. Because they are small animals they harvest out at about 200 pounds per steer (300 lbs. dressed weight). However, if I count the value of the herd and they cows I will eventually sell, I come out ahead some day. They are an investment.
I would keep them even if I was losing money (some money), they’re cheaper than golf and most other male hobbies. I enjoy watching them graze and chew their cud. It is just exciting to see a newborn calf learn to stand, walk, nurse, and then run all in a matter of hours.
For the most part I choose how much time I put into them. There are days like yesterday when a calf was born earlier than I expected and I have to drop everything to separate the cow and calf from the others (in a pouring down rain). Otherwise, the only real downer is that I have to either be here or have someone I trust here to make certain they haven’t gotten out, they have hay, and they have access to water. I sometimes feel bound to them. In this stage of my life I would like to be a little freer to travel. Yet, there are good friends who check on them when I am away. For everything worthwhile there seems to be a price.
I am thankful for my cows. They are a source of tranquility, usually.
February 6, 2010