mini cowCattle

We have a small herd of miniature cattle, with 40 to 50 head at any given time. Like any breeding program, we have a core herd that we keep every year because they fit the type we're striving for. The others are calves that are either born to us or stock that we buy to introduce specific traits (height, body type, color) into the herd. We also keep several other breeds of cattle to satisfy my interest in the unusual, such as African Watusi and Indu.


In the beginning

In the mid 90s, I decided to try my hand at raising smaller cattle. I liked the idea of having a herd that didn't watusi steer need a lot of acreage, consumed less feed, and if a bull had a bad day, I could still take him.

I started with miniature Zebu, but found that they just wouldn't hold up to the harsh Michigan winters. And with fuel prices on the rise, I just flat out refused to heat a barn for cattle. And little bovine thermal underwear were also out of the question. But seriously, I just couldn't lay my head on my pillow at night knowing that my cattle were outside shivering. So the Zebu were out.

I decided to take a longer term approach: I was going to breed what I wanted into my herd. I started with smaller Scottish Highland, Irish Dexter, and Australian Lowlines. After years of selective breeding, sentimental favorites, and a little bit of "Hey, what if?" speculation, my line of miniature cattle was underway. Ultimately, my goal was to produce small, gentle, disease resistant and winter hearty cattle. And I’m getting there.




There is no standard method of measurement for miniature cattle. Some folks measure at the hip, some measure at the shoulders. And with some of the heights I've heard, they must be measuring from the top of a mini's head while grazing...

We have our own way to measure our minis and prospective additions to our program. We load prospective minis in the front compartment of the stock trailer, which has a lower deck compartment that always measures 38 inches. After driving around for a couple of miles, the prospect is unloaded. If she has wear spots on her shoulder blades or hips when unloaded, she’s too tall for the program.


But is it a breed?

If you are interested in miniature cattle, you are likely to come across breeders and web sites claiming that they have various miniature bullminiature “breeds.” There are many legitimate breeds, such as Zebu, Hereford, and Lowline, to name a few. But there are also many crosses that are being touted as breeds. I'm no scientist, but I do know that the result of a mating between one breed and another is not a new breed. It’s a cross. A breed is not a breed until offspring can produce like offspring over several generations. Example: If you breed a pit bull to a cocker spaniel, the result is not a new breed. It's a fur ball with a bad attitude.

These myriad ongoing “projects” that fit individual tastes can cause some confusion as some breeders rush to identify their cattle as new breeds. There's nothing wrong with these projects; they are absolutely wonderful miniature cattle. And as a matter of fact, I'm quite proud of mine.

My cattle are not the world’s smallest, they’re not the world’s smartest, but they fulfill my ideal and sensibilities for miniature cattle. The bottom line is that my cattle are not a breed, they’re mutts. But I’ve been at it long enough that my mutts are starting to look alike. And they’re what I like. I call them Myline cattle…because that’s what they are: My line. Take a look.

P.S./B.S.: There are many breeds and types of miniature cattle. And whether your taste runs to beef, dairy, horns or hair, purebred or emerging project, there's definitely a cow out there with your name on it.



Prices of miniature cattle run the gamut. I’ve seen them sell for a very reasonable few hundred dollars for pet animals up to a first generation cross (“breed”) of a unique color selling for tens of thousands.

As to the prices of Myline (“cross”) cattle, if I really like you, I’m apt to give you one (I don’t like many people that much). But for the most part, my prices depend on three main factors: color, height, and sex (of the cattle).

*Wife's disclaimer: Don really is a charming and funny guy. His witty sarcasm doesn't always convey his true self in the written word. Don't be afraid to contact us. -Michelle