I know what you’re wondering, and yes, miniature cows do exist. Not only do they exist, but they make great pets too. And in some ways, they can be beneficial to the family. Especially a family with small children.
Miniature cows make good pets because they are extremely loving and gentle. They would be a good pet to raise around children as well because they are very social and easy to take care of. Children can also learn from raising a mini cow because they can teach them responsibility and compassion.
Not only are they good to keep as pets, but they can bring in some extra profit and enough milk to feed a family. Not surprisingly, there are many different types of miniature cows and some key information that is important to know before getting one.
Why Are Miniature Cows Good Pets?
Miniature cows are very affectionate and friendly pets. They only need about a half of an acre each to live comfortably. Not only are they good for the family, but they can produce milk and fertilizer for your family garden and farm. They are such social pets that they are sometimes used as animal therapy pets and in petting zoos. They would do well in a 4-H club as well.
Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Buy One
The first thing you should know is that there are different categories of miniature cows. Depending on the height they measure to the hip, they will be categorized into one of three categories.
- Midsize miniature cows: 42 to 48 inches to the hip
- Standard miniature cows: 36 to 42 inches to the hip
- Micro-mini cows: less than 36 inches to the hip
So, to give you an idea of how tall these little guys are, a miniature cow is about as tall as the average five-year-old child. But are they as healthy as the average five-year-old toddler?
Are Mini Cows Healthy?
Miniature cows are generally very healthy pets. They live between about 12 to 25 years, so anyone looking to get one as a pet will be making a long-term commitment. The only thing pet owners should keep a look out for is “bulldog syndrome”, also known as lethal chondrodysplasia. It is the abnormal growth of the cartilage and bone. It leads to physical deformity in places such as the limbs, face, and spine. Sadly, it also leads to death.
On the bright side, it’s rare in cows and seen more often in, you guessed it, bulldogs. So as long as you take good care of them, you will have a lifelong pet.
Do Miniature Cows Stay Small?
Miniature cows are about one-half to a third the size of a normal cow. Not measuring over 48 inches full-grown, these cows will stand about waist height next to an average height person. They can range anywhere between 500 to 1,000 pounds, but they stay pretty short. It is always a good idea to seek out a reputable mini cow breeder just to be sure you are actually buying a miniature cow.
Advantages of a Mini Cow
What is so different about having a mini cow as a pet, is that you can benefit in so many more ways than just having an adorable and loving companion. Miniature cows produce enough milk to feed a family and oftentimes much more. You could get between half a gallon to a gallon of milk per pump, and some cows can pump up to 4 times a day.
Not only do they give you milk, but they don’t need as much room to roam as a full-size cow does. They only require half an acre of land, minimum for each animal. That’s about the size of most yards nowadays. You can read more about calculating acreage needs and other miniature cow trivia here.
Not to mention they’re diets are about as small as they are. They only eat about 30% of the standard amount of feed, which means less to clean up and just enough fertilizer for your family garden. Plus, they are so small and tame that you don’t need crazy fencing. Just your standard single hot wire will keep them in the yard.
Breeds of Miniature Cows
It’s good to know what type of cow best fits your lifestyle. All of these breeds have their own quirks and they are all different in their own ways. There are ten different breeds I will be mentioning today and only briefly touching base on the details of them. This is by no means all of the research you will need to be prepared, but it will get you started.
Miniature Holstein Milk Cow
Miniature Holstein Cows are not only ridiculously adorable, but they provide large amounts of milk. If you’re looking for a pet cow that can double as a milk cow, this breed is your best bet.
Their milk could actually make you a profit, enough to replace what you spend in feed and more.
Fun fact about Holstein Cows, they have held the record for milk production for years now, and the world record was set in 2017 when a Holstein cow produced over 78,000 pounds of milk in a year.
The average production for a miniature Holstein Cow can produce as much as 2 to 3 gallons of milk a day. You can milk some up to 3 times a day, every day, for the entire 305 days of lactation a year.
Miniature Holstein cows measure at about 42 inches in height, so they would be considered a midsize miniature cow. They’re cousins, the full-sized Holstein stands at about 58 inches in height. So, the miniature breed is substantially smaller.
Miniature Holstein Cows are known for being extremely friendly and docile. They would be a good pet for children because they are gentle and easy to handle, making it safe for children to be around them.
Miniature Scottish Highland
These little cuties range in height between 27 to 42 inches, so they stay pretty small. They resemble a bear with their long brown hair. Because people recognize them for their cuteness, these calves can cost as much as $6,500.
Although they will do well being raised in America, they thrive best in habitats that resemble their own. Miniature Scottish Highland Cows come from the Highlands, which are known for their cold and difficult living. They are known to live long and healthy lives as long as they are well taken care of.
Another distinctive feature about them is their coat. They have a long coarse outer coat of hair that lays atop a soft inner coat. It will keep them extra warm in the winter months when any other breed of cow needs special housing. And much like a dog in the summer months, they shed their winter coat, so they don’t overheat.
Don’t be nervous about their long horns. This breed of cow is brave and can’t be scared easily. They make great pets because they are so calm and friendly. And if you want to breed and start a little family of cows, it won’t be too difficult with a mini Scottish Highland. They can produce young all the way up into their late teens, and once they have them, they make wonderful and protective parents.
Though they don’t eat much feed, they can clear an entire lot of brush and then some. They love
to graze and will be sure to keep your land cleared out.
Miniature Texas Longhorns
Though this miniature breed can seem intimidating at first glance, they have a milder and toned-down version of their larger cousin’s attitude. They lack the nervous and aggravating tendencies that can sometimes be dangerous.
These little beasts can grow to be a max of 45 inches, though many stay smaller. Their average lifespan is about 10 years, so it will be a pet that can grow with your child. They can weigh anywhere between 350 to a whopping 800 pounds.
They are most active during the day and love to roam fields and roll around in the hay. Just as most miniature cows, the mini Texas Longhorn is great with kids and would make a wonderful pet.
Mini Lowline Angus
Funnily enough, Lowline Angus was bred accidentally. In 1974, an Australian study separated 85 Angus cows into 3 groups for some scientific research. At the end of the study, they realized one herd was smaller than the other two and continued to selectively breed them. It is because of this study, that we have our beloved mini Lowline Angus.
Because of such strict and dedicated breeding, the miniature Lowline Angus is one of the smallest breeds in the world. They are also some of the sweetest and most calm breeds of cow you can find.
The mini Lowline Angus stands at around 43 inches tall and can weigh up to 1,200 pounds. They have that short and stocky look about them. They tend to eat less feed and graze much more than other cows. To show you an example of how much they need to eat, they only need about a third of the standard amount of feed for most mini cows.
These sweet minis can live anywhere between 12 and 25 years and they can withstand just about any climate. The thing about the miniature Lowline Angus, is they don’t usually test positive for the “bulldog” gene. So, you would have to worry less about losing a baby to this terrible mutation. Especially if you plan to breed them.
Miniature Hereford’s kind of resembles a white and brown version of a mini Scottish Highland. They’re bigger cousins date back 250 years where their breeding began in Herefordshire, England. These cows would make a good pet or show animal because of their sweet and loving temperament. They are a great addition to your mowing and fertilizing equipment as well, so the benefits of owning one are extensive.
Paired with their sweet nature, they eat far less feed than most miniature cows. Because they eat less, there will be less for you to clean up and keep up with. They stay relatively healthy and can adapt to all climates, so your veterinarian bills will be pretty low as well.
These mini cows can weigh anywhere between 700 to 1,000 pounds and can grow to be around 42 inches in height. They reproduce quickly and can start as early as 2 or 3 years old. So, if you plan on breeding your mini Herefords, you can start as soon as they are fully mature.
Miniature Panda Cow
Miniature Panda Cows are the more expensive breed of mini cows, but they are cute as a button. They’re this expensive because they are pretty rare to come across. To put it to scale, there are under a hundred Panda cattle in the world. They are bred from Irish Dexter and Belted Galloway and are only around 14 inches tall at birth. These cows are so rare, that they have their own exhibit in the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.
Like other miniature cow breeds, they are loving and easy to care for. They would make a good addition to any family. Just keep in mind that to buy one, you will need to fork over up to a whopping $30,000.
Miniature Jersey Cows are extremely friendly and are lower maintenance to take care of. They are best known for their superior milk production and their pure bloodline that can be traced back almost 600 years.
They come from a small island off of the French coast, and because they were separated in isolation, they a famous for their high-quality milk.
The mini Jersey cow will stay around 36 to 42 inches in height and around 700 pounds in weight. They stay relatively small and don’t need to be bred to get that small. That is just how these cows are born. So, there is no gene tracking to make sure they have the mini gene.
Much like the Panda cow, the Jersey cow is hard to find. They can be very playful when they are young but often grow into a more mature and loving companion. They are quiet and only need to be handled often as a baby.
Because of their thin coat, they get cold if temperatures drop under 50 degrees. So, you will have to be aware of the weather and make sure to keep them warm when it gets too cold. This is especially important in the winter months because it can cause stress-related sicknesses.
Zebu Cows aka Brahman Cows
Zebu Cows are one of the oldest breeds of mini cows. They can be traced all the way back to 3,000 BC from Southern India. They are rare in North America but are very unique in the sense that they have developed a miniature breed all on their own. It is in the U.S. where they got the name Brahman Cows, but you won’t see them often. And if you do, you might have to pay a pretty hefty price to get one.
These cows look somewhat similar to the Jersey Cow, but instead of flat backs, they have humps around their hips and shoulders. They often have horns, but there is no telling how large they will be or what shape they will take.
The Zebu cows have very friendly characteristics and often make good pets. You will most often see them at events such as rodeos or zoological gardens, but they can sometimes be used in breeding farms as well.
If you decide to get one as a pet with the added benefit of milk, you could get up to a gallon of milk a day. That could bring in a nice profit to pay for their feed and shelter.
They are born with colors ranging from black, to red, or to even all white. Mini Zebus grow to about 36 to 38 inches in height, but you could find some as small as 26 inches. They can grow to about 200 to 500 pounds and sweetly enough, the mothers carry their babies for nine months, just like humans.
When taking care of them, you will need to keep a good stock of salt blocks and lots of fresh water. They can graze for their food during the summer months but will need hay in the winter. Like all other cows, they do require feed on a daily basis. They are most comfortable in warmer weather, so if you have one in a colder climate, you will have to keep them warm.
They can live up to 25 years if they are well taken care of. If you decide to buy one, keep in mind that they are often cheaper as babies because the grown Zebu often shows potential for profit. You will be looking at spending between $500 to $2,000 for a male and around $1,500 to $3,000 for a female. The smaller they are, the more expensive the usually are.
Dexter Cows came from ancient Ireland around 1750. Today in the U.S. they are pretty rare to come across. They can live up to 20 years and can have up to 10 calves in the span of their life. They are usually black, but can sometimes be born dark red or brown.
They have horns, and to give you a reference, they look a lot like Hellboy’s horns from the movie. Though instead of eating pancakes and Baby Ruth’s, these mini Dexter Cows live off of grass and hay. If you decide to get a Dexter cow for their milk, you can even bribe them with grain and pellet.
Keep in mind that with Dexter cows, the more food and fresh water they have, the more milk they will produce. They can produce as much as 20 liters of milk a day, which is more than their larger breed. Their milk is perfect for making cheese and cream as well.
These cows will need to be kept warm in the winter months because of their thin coats but they fare well in the warmer months.
It’s good to remember that the heavier they are, the less milk they will produce. So, it is important to keep them at a healthy weight. Letting them graze for just six hours a day should be enough for them.
If you plan on buying this breed for their milk, you may need to consider buying an electrical milking machine because their teats may be too small to grasp for hand milking.
The mini Dexter breed is probably the least practical breed of cow to consider for a pet because of their horns. They may be too dangerous for small children to be around. But they can make good milking cows for any small farm.
Miniature Belted Galloway
Miniature Belted Galloway’s are the teddy bear of mini cows. They are extremely adorable and easy to take care of. These mini cows come from southwestern Scotland and have a very thick coat. In fact, their coat is double layered and repels water. They do very well in colder and wetter climates because of this.
These minis are born mostly brown with a thick white band around their midsection, though they can sometimes come out red or black as well. They can grow to around 42 inches and can eat about any kind of foliage they find when grazing. Mini Galloway’s horns are naturally polled, so you won’t have to worry about any dangers with that if you decide to buy one.
They can live more than 20 years and breed throughout their entire life span, so if it’s babies you want, it’s babies you will get. When they do have calves, it’s generally very easy to birth them because the babies are born so small. The mothers have strong maternal instincts and often produce a plentiful milk supply for their babies.
They are sometimes called “the lazy man’s cattle” because they are extremely self-sufficient and resistant to disease. Though it’s important to note that they need regular vaccinations against parasite control to protect against leptospirosis. This is a bacterial disease that can be transmitted to humans, so it is important to keep up with their vaccine schedule.
The miniature Belted Galloway is super docile and friendly. They are very gentle and would be ideal as a pet for a family with small children. And like most other miniature cows, they only need a single hot wire to keep them on your land.
How Much Does a Miniature Cow Cost?
As mentioned briefly before, mini cows can range anywhere from around $1,000 to $7,000. They are more expensive than their full-size companions but need only a half an acre per mini cow. This makes it easier to own more cows per acre of land you own, and they often produce better milk and are much more kind.
Miniature cows make better pets because they are often very docile, easily trainable, and gentle. This makes them the perfect pet for any family with small children or the elderly. Some breeds may be less practical because of their horns and the accidents that may ensue because of them. Luckily there are 10 breeds mentioned here that you can choose from.
Things You Will Need for Your Mini Cow
Before buying any pet mini cows, it is important to be prepared. Listed are only a few things you need to keep in mind before buying any cows.
- Calve coats for cold weather
- Heat lamps for colder months
- Harnesses for leading and training
- Herbal ley for worm control
- Electrical milking machine for farms with many cows or cows with small teats
- Mineral or salt blocks
- Fresh water fed to them continuously
It is important you do your research and prepare your family and your home before making such a commitment. Though they are extremely easy to take care of, miniature cows can live a very long and plentiful life. They make wonderful pets and companions, and they are pretty self-sufficient, especially with their own young.
If you buy a miniature cow as a baby, you will likely be bottle feeding it which causes a strong bond to form and a more docile temperament in the mini cow. They make adorable and beneficial pets for the entire family, and let’s not forget the bragging rights you get when you buy one.
They can live pretty much anywhere as long as they are kept warm in the cold months with a heat lamp and a small barn, and they are given ample time to graze fresh grass and eat hey. But you’ll want to read this article about house-training mini cows before you bring them in the house!
They need lots of fresh water to stay healthy and produce plenty of milk for cheese, butter, yogurt, or just plain old milk. Your cows can even sometimes produce too much milk, which will bring in extra profit to help pay for their feed and vaccines.
You can breed them if you’d like because they often produce healthy young. They can start producing as early as 3 years old because they mature so quickly.
Now that you know the basics of owning mini cows as pets, which will you choose?