Welcome to Darling Range Dexter
Darling Range Dexter stud was founded by Rose and Matthew Stevens with help from our son Ben in 2005.
In 2004 we moved to the lush South West of Western Australia where we were located next to the Darling Ranges in Harvey Western Australia but an increasing addiction to Dexter cattle forced us to move so we could expand and develop our herd. We started off by buying a few unregistered Dexter's but mid 2009 we saw an opportunity to move to Victoria to a larger property in Balmattum North East of Euroa Victoria Australia. This gave us the ability to run a greater number of animals and also finish off our cattle longer and to a better standard.
We have a real passion for Dexter Cattle and spend hours training and just being with them, enjoying their company and enhancing their already easy care nature. Along with interest in our own herd we have been active in our association and have in the past had regular input in our national Dexter magazine.
Our breeding direction has resulted in a consistently deep bodied and structurally sound animal with emphasis on natural polling.
We have developed a Paddock to plate philosophy with a passion for healthy ethically raised animals. We only sell our best quality as registered animals for stud and the rest are sold as pets or for beef production, and maintain a grass fed only beef component. We use minimal medicine and chemicals and natural fertilizer to ensure a clean healthy animal every time. We do not use artificial Hormones except in Artificial Insemination.
We love to share our passion for Dexter's and sustainable ethical farming and invite you to spend time looking at our site and feel free to contact us or arrange a stud visit any time.
A Cow called Hathor
It all started when we bought a 25 acre property in Harvey Wa 18/4/05. We had too much grass and nothing to eat it apart for 6 sheep (a big ask for 6 sheep).So we thought, we want to be self sufficient so why don’t we get some cows even though we have no experience with farming (you have to start somewhere).I wanted small cows as I would be handling them myself (as Matt works away). We picked up a quokka (a WA trading newspaper) we saw an advert for Dexter cows for sale with a local breeder;
I went to look without much enthusiasm (I did not realize the potential of the breed). We brought several grade cows as unregisted as it was just going to be some cows for the family’s meat production. But within weeks things had changed considerably they had gone from being just some cows to a major addiction, so we worked out a deal with the breeder to get some of the cows reregisted.
One of those cows was Tanah Kanan Hathor, a cow that was so smart she helped me train the whole herd, she understood what I wanted and she would call the other cows and get them to do what I wanted, it didn’t take them long to catch on. She taught me so much she had personality plus she liked to pretend she was a tough nut but she was really all bluff although she really did not like men much she seemed to like being very difficult if a man had the gall to want her to do something.
There was one funny day when Hathor had pink eye, we had friends over and the men said” we will bring her in” when I tried to protest I was shut down “no we can do it” so I said “ok” knowing full well they would not be able to bring her in. I was laughing as she had them running around and around that paddock. After a few minutes I decided she had had enough fun for one day, so I walked to the gate yelled out “come on Hathor lets go” and she ran out the gate and walked with me up to the crush as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth leaving the guys doubled over puffing in the paddock.
Another cow from the same lot was Yasmin the sweetest cow you could ever meet she brought her calf up to me to meet it she took great pride in introducing us. We ended up selling most of those cows on so we had all registed animals one was Stoney brook Tracy a very passionate girl she loves attention she got so used to me being there all of the time and when I was not there for her calving as usual she yelled at me. When I finally made my way out to paddock and she continued to yell at me until I had met her calf and congratulated her on her good work.
At the same time we bought a bull called Cresthill Tullamore to sookiest bull ever he made a deal with my 5 year old son he would walk up to the gate so Ben could climb onto his back and scratch him. We are so addicted we moved 50 head of cows from Wa to a 100 acre in central Victoria Australia. I now have paddocks full of Black, Red and Dun sooks and never have to round them up all I have to do is call and they come running. Through all of this we have gotten to meet many people who love dexters from all different walks of life.
All thanks to a cranky old cow called Hathor who I miss dreadfully.
Darling Range Dexters
Freemartin in Dexters
Late in the afternoon on 3/4/13 I went out to check the cows as usual, only to find my grade 3 Dexter cow Calamity Miss Tress has had her 4th calf, this was a surprise to me as the birth was at least 2 weeks earlier than I had expected, but the calf did not appear premature and it was very strong and very lively. The calf was a black horned bull and looked just like his dam.
Two days later on the morning of 5th I got up at first light after hearing some odd noises. When calving is on I check the paddock nook and crannies several times a day and night. I found Calamity Mooing in distress as she could not find her calf in the thick fog. While I was scouting around looking for her calf I came across a red polled calf that had be attacked by a fox and had its tail and part of its rump chewed off, apart for the wounds it looked just like its sire Coppertop. As the calf appeared to have been not long born, due to it still having soft white feet, damp hair and the opposite genetically to the bull calf and having been born 2 days after the bull calf, I assumed someone else had calved out unexpectedly. I went searching the entire herd over and over. No one else had any signs of calving let alone an udder.
By this time I am very confused and thinking what have I missed and am I losing my marbles. Luckily the dam had cleaned up her calf and given it a small feed (I could tell by a small yellow poo). Eventually I am left with the conclusion that Calamity must have had twins more than 24 hours apart by two different eggs and two different sperm in two separate placentas. What are the odds of that?
I tried to get Calamity to take the calf back but she kept switching between wanting it and not wanting it and eventually rejected it completely. She would not let it feed. I did the ring around for colostrum and milk but had no luck. I had to feed the calf with a mixture of full cream milk, an egg, cod liver oil, vitamin c powder and warm water. You can get a commercial milk mix but it is quite expensive and it has to be available at the time needed. The calf was a very strong feeder with both sucking and butting, it took to the bottle really well. We went on to clean up its wounds with detol then covered the wounds with an antiseptic cream and sprayed on an animal fly repellent. Who can tell with the mess the fox has made whether the calf is male or female or if it would survive.
It had bucked the odds to get this far.
To make matters worse it turns out when Junior Burger healed we found she was a female making her a possible freemartin. Genetically 93% of female twins to male co twins are freemartin as the testosterone from the male twin prevents the female from developing her internal female parts properly making her infertile. It turns out basically most Fraternal or Dizygotic twins die when the first twin is born as the placenta gets torn in the birthing process. This means there are no statistics on freemartinism in these animals. What is left for the fate of our little and cute calf Junior Burger at least a name change to Justine time. Justine Time because we got to her just in time, she grew up to be a lovely serial pest.
If freemartinism is suspected you can get a vet to do an internal exam (if she is large enough) or test the presence of the Y chromosome present in the female twin. We have been searching to find out how and where we can test Justine and can find plenty of testing in America but it takes too long for the blood to get there. Due to my frustration Matt contacted Dpi and he was told that NSW Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute can do a DNA test. They require an unclotted blood sample using EDTA purple top blood tube lith hep-green top blood tube from the female co twin. Turnaround is about 10 working days. Blood has to be kept refrigerated not frozen until transit and transit should not be more than 2 days. Cost is $97.35 including gst but this does not include your vet costs. We are remiss to spend this kind of money so we are watching Justine closely to see if she cycles.
Even though she does not have the general appearance represented in freemartins (taller and muscelly not feminized) it appears she is a freemartin as she is now 2 years old and she still has not cycled.
By Rose Mayne Darling Range Dexters
Beefy little Milkers!-Small cows with Big potential!