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Author Topic: Dexters  (Read 3777 times)


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Somerset
« on: July 14, 2015, 02:31:24 pm »
Hello, does anyone keep or have reared dexters for Beef on here? I have a few questions.
We recently sent fo a 4 yr old Dexter steer for meat. We only bought him about a month before we sent him off. We wanted to keep him the whole summer before doing so but unfortunately he kept escaping! He was kept with 2 cows and  a Bull.
Anyhow... We have been told by our butcher he is very poor, as in there is little meat on him. He didn't look poor in condition although he wasn't fat, he just seemed very short to me. Much shorter than the 2 Dexter cows we have.
My main question is, one of the cows has recently had a Dexter calf which eventually we will send off for meat. Is there anything I need to do/know specifically for Dexters or was this just bad beginners luck?

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Dexters
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2015, 02:46:54 pm »
Do you know anything of his history? 


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Somerset
Re: Dexters
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2015, 02:58:09 pm »
Not much apart from he was in a herd which all had to be sold, we bought him through my step dad who is a farmer. He bought the whole herd as he was worried where they would all end up and we bought 2 pd'd cows off him and the steer. As I said we wanted to keep him for the Summer but he kept gettin into our river and escaping Into neighbouring farmers fields.
My step dad has sent one off too and apparently it's in the same condition. They were wormed when he got them and they have been on plenty of grass and have had cake once a day.
They didn't look poor, just small.


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Somerset
Re: Dexters
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2015, 02:59:36 pm »
My step dad is surprised, he thought they looked ok.


  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Dexters
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2015, 03:36:30 pm »
There are two different genetic types of Dexters I believe - "short" and "non-short". Presumably they are "shorts". That shouldn't be a problem though. Remember butchers are used to very large cattle these days (Charolais or Limousin crosses) and a Dexter may just seem small to him. Perhaps next time look for a butcher who is used to dealing with rare breed meat, and get some actual weights off the butcher so that you have a comparison for next time - sounds to me like he really couldn't be bothered.


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Somerset
Re: Dexters
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2015, 04:00:57 pm »
Thanks Cowgirl, to be fair I do know the Butcher and have done for years, he hasn't seen the carcass yet, it's just what the Abbatoir have told him. The carcass is going back to him tomorrow, so I'll get done weights then.
I didn't realise there were 2 different sorts.... I will do some research later.
It's annoying as he didn't look poor, I wasn't expecting loads of meat as he was small for sure.


  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Dexters
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2015, 06:15:34 pm »
Ah well that probably explains it if it was the abattoir. I'm sure there are lots of Dexter people on here who will be able to tell you how much beef to expect. I'm sure I saw a post recently on another forum that said about 140 kg, but I think that was a non-short.


  • Joined Jun 2012
Re: Dexters
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2015, 06:24:00 pm »
Try to get the carcass classification result - it will say something like O+4L

There's a system that abattoirs use to grade all beef carcasses - lots of info here:

This system is aimed more towards the continental breeds - and is not really suited for smaller cattle. But it's the only system used. Probably the abattoir are more used to the larger commercial cattle - and your Dexter doesn't fit the usual pattern.

We breed Shetland cattle - our beef steers usually come out as O+4L or H. But as Ronnie Eunson (he's been on Countryfile) said to me - the numbers have no bearing on the taste...

Wait until your butcher has seen the carcass & get his opinion.



  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Staffordshire
Re: Dexters
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2015, 06:27:39 pm »
My Dexter has come back today and was 0+5LC, not sure if that's good or not. He was a non short steer around 22 months old and the meat had just the right amount of fat for my taste  :thumbsup:


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Somerset
Re: Dexters
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2015, 09:18:34 pm »
Thanks for all the info, we'll wait and see....


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Dexters
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 10:49:04 pm »
 If your stepdad, an experienced farmer,thought the animals looked  ok to slaughter, then I'm sure they were. As stated, the abbattoir will probably be less than impressed by a dexter because of the low volume of meat you end up with, as compared to a more commercial animal.
 We had a young dexter bull slaughtered a few years ago. He was no where near fat, but turned nasty, so we ate him. And he was delicious.
 There was not a lot of meat in comparison to one of our Herefords, but then you don't expect a lot from a small animal. The main problem because he was slaughtered early was the lack of fat covering, so the butcher couldn't hang him for long as the meat dried out. But it was very nice meat all the same.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Dexters
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 11:57:57 pm »
Our butcher buys BH's lambs (Texel crosses, top conformation grades) for his own customers, and clearly thinks they're the shape and size they should be, as he buys them all summer! 

Whatever I send him for our own consumption (my primitives and crossbreed sheep, and recently a Jersey heifer), he always tells me is very poor, and explains that the butchering costs are the same per carcase, or sometimes even more for a poor beast, while you get less meat off them, so that makes the butchering per kilo rather expensive.

I have learned to have a thick skin, accept the critiques of my 'poor' beasts and sheep, pay his butchering charges with a smile - and revel in the glorious flavour of Cumbrian grass-fed hogget and beef  :yum:

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing



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