Thursday, September 23, 2010

Creature Feature: Mini Cows.

Take a deep breath after those last two entries. You deserve something cute if you read them. I do not mean cute in my own perverse sense of cute, I mean cute that leads to a general "d'awww!" from most people.

Ready? OK, good.

Yes, that is a really small cow. Miniature cattle only get 36-46 inches in height, making them ideal for aspiring mini-dairy farmers, mini-butchers and cow lovers who cannot afford a whole lot of farm space.

They are also darn adorable. Seriously, that's a cow the size of a dog, there. To put things in perspective, this is how big a regular Holstein gets:

(As I said in my aurochs entry, cows used to be even bigger. This cow was BRED DOWN to approximately 5 ft in height.)

There is not only one breed of miniature cattle. There are several. The Dexter and certain strains of Zebu (Bos primogenius indicus) were deemed 'naturally small' since they were developed before large size became desirable in cattle. Lately, crossing different breeds such as Holsteins or Angus into miniature strains has become common and, of course, profitable.

Also adorable.

Miniature cattle are steadily rising in popularity. One of the main reasons for this rise is that, the increased awareness of factory farming, more people would like to know where their food is coming from. The easiest way to know that for sure is to raise, milk and kill it yourself. These cows only take an acre or two of land per specimen, so they are a more manageable way to know where one's food has been.

Plus, they have been bred to look like pandas: