Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Our Herd Archives

Since buying our first Dexter in December 2009, our herd has grown.  Now, by October 2013, it has changed enough that we need to keep a Herd Archives.  Here are the animals that used to be part of our herd.

Sara was our very first Dexter, purchased from Jeff & Kim Newswanger in Dec. 2009.  She is black, horned & long-legged.  She is dual-registered with the ADCA and the PDCA.  Sara's testing is now complete, and her genotype is on file with the ADCA.  Her testing confirmed what we already knew, that she is negative for Chondrodysplasia (meaning she is long-legged).  She is also negative for PHA.  The big surprise is that Sara is homozygous for A2!  So that A2 heifer we want is now in reach if we keep Sara and breed her to an A2 bull!  And that A2 milk is out there in the pasture right now, just waiting to be let down for Sara's calf out of Taco!  Kim even milked Sara, so the groundwork has been done!

Sara was bred by Shawn Rogers of S&H Hilltop Miniatures in Ohio and was born in 2003.  She had at least four calves that we know of before she came to us.  She calves easily and quickly; no humans needed, thank you!  She is an excellent mother and has been known to toss a dog over a fence when it was chasing one of her calves.

Here, to the best of our knowledge, is Sara's breeding history:
2005 – bull, castrated & butchered
2006 – heifer, registered by previous owners
2007 – SHF Keira Hilldancer, horned black heifer, carries red & dun, A2/A2, registered by the Newswangers
2009 – Maxwell, black polled bull, castrated & butchered
2010 – ZH Zephryhill Siobhan, heifer, registered by the Leas
2011 – pasture AI’d to Hillview Red Wing, did not take, so no 2012 calf

2013 – ZH Taco’s Tundra, black polled heifer carries dun, A1/A2, registered by Leas

On July 6, 2013 Sara gave us our second heifer, ZH Taco's Tundra.  (See Tundra's story below to hear how she got her non-Irish name.)  On Aug. 16 we took Sara and Tundra to Hope Refuge Farm to breed Sara to the Newswangers' A2 bull, Belle Fourche Rousseau.  At that time we told Kim that we had decided to sell Sara and purchase an A2 cow, and we asked if she had one for sale.  The result of that conversation was like a game of Musical Cows.  The Newswangers decided to purchase both Sara and Tundra, and we decided to buy Sara's A2 granddaughter, New Hope Ebony Belle, to be our milk cow.

So it was that Sara left us.  She is now the happy queen of the New Hope girls where her horns have finally won her some R.E.S.P.E.C.T., something she never got from our horses.  I, especially, will miss Sara.  She has been our most photogenic cow and is the subject of several of my homemade greeting cards.  She will always hold an honored position as the founding cow of our Zephyr Hill Farm Dexters.

ZH Taco's Tundra

Tundra was born in a pouring rain on July 6, 2013.  We were thrilled to have a second heifer from her mother S&H Hilltop Sara, but we were worried about the place Sara had chosen to give birth.  While sheltered from view, the little heifer was laying in a low spot that would flood if the rain kept up.  So we mounted a complicated rescue operation, recounted in Operation Tundra.  Because little black Tundra was carried to safety in our big black Toyota Tundra--and because the Irish word for "tundra" is "tundra"--we decided to name this feminine little heifer after the great big truck that took her on her first trip.  It was just a fun coincidence that Sara developed a "crush" on the Tundra back when it was brand new.  See the hilarious photos in this post.

On July 16, 2013 Tundra accompanied her mother Sara on a long trip to Hope Refuge Farm in Kentucky so that Sara could be bred to the Newswanger's bull, Belle Fourche Rousseau.   That trip led to the Newswangers deciding to purchase both Sara and Tundra and to us replacing Sara with her granddaughter, New Hope Ebony Belle.  We were sad to say goodbye to lovely Tundra and to miss out on the opportunity to see what kind of cow she would grow up to be, but we'll be sure to follow up with her on the Hope Refuge Farm website.  We expect good things from Tundra!


T-Bone was our first steer, purchased from a breeder, and had the dubious distinction of providing our first grass-fed beef.  He was sweet, easy to handle, and looked so pretty grazing out in the pasture.  It was sad to send him to the butcher, but he convinced us that Dexter beef is a wonderful thing!


  1. I am checking out your dexter cattle:) They are nice. How hardy is the species when it comes to the weather, and how healthy are they normally?

    Rich in Arabia

    1. Dexters love to be checked out, Rich! And we love for people to check them out. They are normally very hardy and will thrive in drought situations where other cattle don't do well. Of course they do need enough to eat, but they can convert weeds and brush to energy that most cattle won't touch. They are also very healthy normally. I will tell you that we've never had a sick Dexter yet since we got our first one the end of 2009. (Knock on wood!) They can get sick like any other cattle, of course, but we've found them to be quite healthy. So far we've had two different cows calve on our property. The older cow had two calves, and our younger cow (the first of the two calves) calved this year. All three times they did it completely on their own, without us present, nursed and raised the calves without any help from us. In addition, the cow I'm milking now is raising her calf and giving us milk for the house via calf sharing, about an average of 1 1/2 qts. a day with a peak production of slightly over half a gallon. I hope that answers your questions.

      If you end coming back to start farming and are interested in Dexters, we'd be glad to put you in touch with some good breeders for building a herd (or we might have an animal for sale by then, too.)


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