It was my very first time to go to the auction barn to purchase cattle. I sat and listened intently as the auctioneer started the cadence. I had done my homework and attended the auction for several weeks to learn how to enter into the fray. It took me a couple of visits to realize that you are bidding on cows that are only in front of you for about five seconds before you have to decide whether or not to bid on them. It was stressful. I had never lived in the country before. I didn’t even know how they could tell whether a calf was as bull or a heifer in the amount of time allotted. Yes, I know that seems crazy, but some of those heifers have belly buttons that look A LOT like a bull. Anyhow…I digress.
The first two calves I bought were super small and fluffy. The subsequent two were also very spotted and fluffy. It was now a trend. After a couple of weeks, the auctioneer would actually look right at me and say “Mrs. Green. Do you want this one?” if a fluffy cow walked out. It was a bit embarrassing, but funny, too!! My first inclinations were to go for the cute, fluffy cows but I soon realized that I live in beef country and no one around me wants a cute, fluffy cow when it is an adult. Subsequently, I sold off the very first cow I purchased: a beautiful Miniature Hereford named Annabelle. We sold her because we had a full-sized bull and it may cause problems for her if she was bred by him due to the size difference. The moment after I sold her, I regretted it. Almost exactly nine months later, the new owner kindly sent me a picture of her beautiful new bull calf and I was even more frustrated that I had gone against my first instincts concerning cattle.
For about three years after that, we tried to stick with the full-sized cows, but we eventually saw a Miniature Hereford herd for sale and decided to change directions and purchase the herd. We are so happy we made that decision. The Miniature Herefords suit the size of our farm really well.
Since then, we have added at least four more Miniature Hereford cows and have recently started raising different breeds of micro-miniature cows along with our Miniature Herefords. Our calves look like stuffed animals when they are born. They are only about 15-20 inches tall, have beautiful markings, and thick fur. We are in love with our new bull, our new cows, and our new heifers.
People ask me questions about our tiny cattle all of the time. What are they good for? They can be purchased for pets, they can be used for an agricultural exemption, or they can be processed for beef. (I’m not there yet, but The Outdoorsman is trying his best to convince me that Miniature Herefords are amazing beef cattle! I told him that we are going to have to purchase a really ugly, mean calf before I could even think about eating one of our Miniature Herefords!)
What I am realizing after being on Green Acres for over six years is that you should raise what you want to raise on your own farm. Don’t worry about what “everyone in the area” thinks is valuable. If you have a small farm like ours, it isn’t realistic to think you will compete with others in the cattle business. It is wiser to focus on a niche area and raise quality animals that can be sold online. We have done a brisk business in the past year due to our online presence and our new focus.
We are excited to see what the future holds for Green Acres Miniatures!