by Lin Stone
|In and around Mena land and home prices are CHEAP compared to the rest of the nation. Have you always dreamed of having a little farm or ranch of your own? Mena is the spot to start. One reason the ground produces so abundantly is there are almost no earthworms in the soil here. Instead you will find the soil almost writhing with vigorously healthy night crawlers.|
This is a Highland Scottish bull, brother to the United States National Champion in
He was very aggressive with these horns and did get his share of the nuts.
Consequently, he is now hamburger steak.
Charlaios and Angus seems to be the preferred breeds of full-sized kine here. Brahma and Hereford -- show up occasionally --and they do make a good cross except for having larger bones. Feeder calves come in all varieties of course. The only breed I haven't seen is Belted Galloway. The local veterinarians must be going broke though as I haven't seen a sick cow in all the time I've been here. It must be the pasture in this area.
Officers at the local 4-H suggests that small farmers raise Dexters.
Dexters are small by nature. In fact, Dexters are the smallest registered breed of cattle in America. Not only will they produce delicious meat but also provide quality milk. The calves are so small they are almost miniature.
A choice bull will weigh about 1100 pounds and stand from 38-44 inches high at the shoulder. A springer heifer will weigh between 650 and 700 while cows can be expected to mature to between 750-800. Three month old calves will look like they only weigh about 150 at the most -- and that makes them look cute and cuddly far longer than other breeds.
One owner here says that when he comes out in the morning to add grain to the cow's ration tub this one leaps to her feet and begins to frolic joyously all the way in. The other cow that is due to calf in July follows along more sedately. If you click on the picture you may notice the chain tip for this one's halter on the left hand side. Just touch that chain lightly and she will follow you anywhere.
It is common practice to put halters on young kine rather early so they get used to being led around. Consequently a yoke of Dexters can be used for plowing ground, if you should be so inclined. Even if you're not, it is really nice to have smaller cows that LOVE to be petted and made much of.
Dexters may be small, but even springer heifers will give about 1.5 gallons of milk per session while a grown cow can give as much as five whole gallons of milk, if you feed them right.
Milk from a Dexter is richer too, with up to 4% butterfat and protein 3.51%. Plus, the molecules are smaller and therefore more digestible. That makes the Dexter a fine substitute for goats on a small homestead.
The little Dexter originated in the South Western region of Ireland. Like the Kerry, they are descended from the predominately black cattle of the early Celts. But some of them are totally red and some totally dun. Another variation in the breed is that some have long legs and some have short legs.
Dexter steers don't even have to be topped off with grain like other cows do. They reach slaughter weight at 20 to 24 months after birth. It is also very rare for a Dexter to need human help at calving time.
Cattle Today has the best information on the web about Dexter cows.
One fellow nearby raises elk
|There's good blood lines in the horses I've seen on the back trail
ranches. Really beautiful Palominos are quite evident, and I'm talking GOOD
I've noticed a goodly share of Arabian blood around here too. The true Arabian horse of today, and the Egyptian Arabian in particular, represents the last fragile vestiges of Nature's premier achievement of evolutionary beauty. Forged in the crucible of Arabia Deserta, these vanishing creatures evolved under Nature's harshest conceivable conditions which honed, refined, and brutally culled all but the most perfect.
Then there are the miniature horses that are becoming ever more popular. One rancher has a herd of miniature donkeys. What makes miniatures so pretty is that they look like babies all their lives.
A few mules are seen, and several "ranchers" are raising (full sized) donkeys to do some bray breeding with the critters.
Nubian goats are the favorites here. Domesticated ducks seem to feel right at home at most of the nearby home ponds, but one thing I am surprised not to see much of is homegrown chickens. You compare the supermarket prices with the cost of raising them though, and the labor does not compute. I keep chickens running loose simply because they are cute little carnivores and they keep the bugs so busy dodging them the bugs don't have time to attack me!
Country Roads around Mena
Mena Information Page
Places to Eat
The Car Show
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