You’ve probably already realized there are several valid reasons for wanting to your own cow. But do you want an heirloom cow?
It is noteworthy that heirloom cows are miniature cows. Modern cows are the large ones that are used for commercial purposes that you see spotting the countryside. Commercial growers were obsessed with size. There are few countries like Australia considering bring back miniature cows for their feed conversion rate alone. (Conversion rate is the amount of feed you give an animal versus what you get in return such as eggs, milk, or meat) Here are the biggest reasons to choose an heirloom cow for your farm.
⇒Easier to handle size
⇒More docile and intelligent
⇒Not as susceptible to disease
⇒Higher quality meat
⇒More milk/meat for feed input.
⇒Forage like goats
⇒Lacks the A protein that causes bloating
⇒No need for birthing assistance
Larger cow breeds have only been around the last 100-150 years;
with the exception of a few cows breed for labor(1). Mini cows were just cows, during the 20th century. Ranchers wanted to breed larger cows because it meant more money, come market time.
Mini cows eat 1/3 of the feed of a modern cow (2). The added bonus is that heirloom cows make 20-30% meat for the feed they eat (3). You can feed your family of four for up to six months, with one miniature beef (4). There is less fat on heirloom cows as they forage for food. Goats have a similar diet; mini Betsy eats what other livestock would consider weeds. Mini Betsy can live on forage alone according to Countryside Contributor (5). If you are using forage alone the cows will need about 1.5 acres per cow (6). Other miniature cows owners state one acre per cow; obviously, this will depend on the type of feed and lushness of the land.
While high producing dairy cows can; in the short run produce more milk, mini Betsy is in for the long haul (7). Betsy will calf produce a small calf every year; that does not need as much milk (8). So Mini the mini cow will be able to be milked longer and produce more calves for years longer. Hence, modern dairy counterparts just can not compete on a small scale. A mini Jersey for example; will produce 1.5 gallons of milk. The average person’s milk consumption in 2005 was 20.4 gallons(9). This means four people would drink 1.5 gallons a week.