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Author Topic: Bellowing Dexter steer - kill or cure?  (Read 693 times)


  • Joined Jun 2018
Bellowing Dexter steer - kill or cure?
« on: June 20, 2018, 10:50:49 pm »

We've recently bought 2 Dexter steers to fatten up for the freezer. One has been bellowing on and off ever since he arrived nearly 2 weeks ago. (The other is calm and quiet.) They have a big field with plenty of grass, he's had fly treatment and is 19 months old. It's causing us a lot of stress (because he sounds distressed), and straining our so far good relations with our neighbours..

I've spoken to various farmers who said it's unusual for this really noisy bellowing to continue longer than a week after a move.

I have contacted the seller who said ' don't worry he was always noisy' which doesn't help. My question is - does anyone with longer experience of keeping cattle have any thoughts about whether I'll be able to cure him of this habit or am I going to have to eat him early? Is it a complete disaster to kill him at 19/20 months? 

Thanks for any suggestions, I'm off to put my earplugs in.

Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Bellowing Dexter steer - kill or cure?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 08:08:56 am »
Oh dear.  If you’ve only got these two, you’ll either have to get another to keep the remaining one company, or send them both off, won’t you?

The community here used to send off its April/May born Dexter stirks at 18-20 months routinely. I guess you’d get more meat after another summer, but I can vouch for the meat being delicious at that age. :yum: 

You don’t have - or couldn’t borrow - a steady old cow you could put them with?  Might settle him?

Another thought - he couldn’t be deaf, could he?  My deaf old collie barks when he’s on his own, as much out of wanting to know where everyone is as anything else, I think.  Mind I’m not sure how it would help if you knew he was deaf :/.
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 cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Bellowing Dexter steer - kill or cure?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2018, 10:49:30 am »
Unfortunately that's what some Dexters do! They can be notoriously noisy.
I have a Dexter cow that I put in our back field for a few weeks (not on her own) and she was constantly bellowing. Some people then give them food to shut them up and that makes them worse as they then start bellowing as soon as they see you. With Poppy, my cow, I made a habit of going down to the field several times and not feeding her so she wouldn't expect anything. In the end, I threw a bucket of water over her to shut her up. The neighbours never actually complained but I wouldn't have blamed them. She did eventually keep quiet when she realised she wasn't getting any treats. But in winter, when she's inside, she starts up again whenever anyone appears. That doesn't matter too much as there's no houses nearby. 

I don't think you'll ever cure him of it, especially as his previous owners had the same problem. (Bet they celebrated when he went!)
However, to kill him if he isn't fat will be a waste of meat. I got a dexter bull slaughtered before he was fat and the steaks and quality cuts were tough as there was no fat around to make them succulent. The mince was ok. I should get an experienced opinion as to whether he is fit for slaughter or not.

If he needs further fattening then I'd go with Sally's suggestion of maybe getting another quiet animal to go with them, or find a remote field.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


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