SETTING UP YOUR PROPERTY FOR DEXTER CATTLE
Photo: By Bev Gardiner
PLAY IT SAFE WITH THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT
Setting up your property for Dexters should follow the same principals as for any cattle. There are basic requirements for managing cattle and then there are a few additional things that will help make sure your farming experiences are positive and enjoyable.
Dexter cattle are known for being easy to manage but they are still cattle. Regardless of the size of your herd, at some stage you will need some facilities for management.
There are many very affordable yard alternatives on the market these days and setting up with portable panels and an economy crush is not a bank breaker. One of the benefits of using pre-fab portable panels, in-frame gates and compatible crushes is you can change your mind about location and configuration as you become more experienced.
If you have never had cattle before it is not easy to get exactly the right set up for you and your situation the first time around. Using non-fixed components means you can easily adjust what you have to suit what you need once you get underway. It is not so easy to change what you thought would work once it is set in concrete in a place you find unsuitable.
When planning fencing, laneways and yards consider access for trucks or trailers, shade and water availability. You need a good water supply at hand. It might seem OK to have to manually fill buckets in the yards when you only have two or three animals, but come the summer it is a time consuming chore and requires someone to be on hand twice a day to do it. Cattle can drink between 30 and 100 litres of water per day depending on size, weather and if they are feeding a calf.
Consider the flow of traffic to get animals in and out of the yard. Gate position is one of the key things for ease of moving animals from one place to another. Have gates in the corner of a paddock rather than part way down a fence. It is easier to move cattle to a corner than it is to get them to turn half way along a fence.
Ensure gates fold right back against a fence to prevent calves being separated and getting stuck behind a gate. Consider lane-ways to get your cattle moving in the right direction toward the yards.
Above all, design things for your ease of management and safety. Dexters are real cattle and your operations should always put your safety and that of your cattle first.
Poorly designed facilities can make for a bad experience in the yards and cattle will remember that and so will you.
Good facilities keep you and your cattle safe and will help make your Dexter experience financially and personally rewarding. Take time to visit other cattle properties to look at facilities and make enquiries about the various suppliers, cost quality and ease of use.
PRE - PURCHASE CHECKLIST
Before purchasing any breed of cattle consider
your own situation, experience and skill level;
availability of shade, water, suitable grazing,
the condition of existing fencing and
management facilities - Make enquiries, visit operational studs and cattle properties before choosing your own managements system.
Check any Local Government planning schemes, by-laws and regulations that may impact on your farming operations.
look of what the neighbors are doing and if they keep cattle. If they keep bulls make sure you have adequate fences to separate your bull from theirs.
Check transport regulations before transporting. Each state is different and you need to be aware of your obligations.
All cattle must have an National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) electronic tag.
Registered Dexter cattle should be Tattooed. Transfers of registration are the responsibility of the seller.
Always consider safety first.
Written By: Roz Michelini