Mini Cow vs. Regular Calf: What’s the Difference?

If you are looking to figure out which cow best fits your needs, we are here to help. There are many things to look at when trying to find out whether the mini or the standard is right for you. There are many things to take into consideration such as cost, care, and benefits. 

What is the difference between a mini cow versus a regular calf? Mini cows only grow up to approximately 42 inches fully matured. However, a regular calf can stand 24 to 36 inches at birth. This all depends on the weight and bloodline of the cattle. 

Typically, most mini cows are approximately sixteen inches tall and approximately fifteen to twenty-five pounds. They are carried by their mother for nine months just as human mothers carry their young. Most miniature calves are purchased for pets and small farms. 

What is Different About a Mini Cow Compared to a Standard Calf?

Standard calves weight approximately sixty to one hundred pounds, depending on heath, bloodline, and degree of pregnancy. Calves are given milk for up to eight weeks old before they are weaned. Depending on where they are born and what their purpose is depends on diet and where they are kept. 

The only main difference between the two is the size and how they are treated from birth. Most small farms do have a miniature cow, but they are kept and raised with more hands-on care. They have more human interaction typically because they are viewed more like household pets. They are safer and gentler than the standard cow around children, pets, and those who may be disabled or unable to handle a larger cow. 

Calves from the standard sized cow are kept with the mother but are treated like the larger standard cow. As when they are older, they become hard to handle and their temperaments are not as calm. Typically, standard cows are strictly used for dairy or meat. Therefore, depending on where they are born and raised depends on how their life is set. 

Mini Cow vs. Regular Cow 

Mini cows are approximately 42 inches or less, while standard cows are approximately 52 inches. Housing is also different as mini cows require less space and restraint. Mini cows also require less feed, but also give less dairy and meat than standard. 

Besides their small cute and sometimes fluffy looks, miniature cattle serve a purpose just as the standard size cows. While some are raised specifically for dairy, others are for meat, and sometimes they are raised for both. They are great for pets and much safer to handle compared to the standard size cows. Many mini cows are bought as pets and used for children. 

There are four “sizes” of cattle. The standard cow stands approximately 62 inches tall, slightly shorter than the average human. There are mid-size miniature cattle that run from 42 inches to 48 inches tall. There are the miniature cattle, “mini cows”, that stand 36 to approximately 42 inches tall. Then there are the micro-miniature cattle that stand 36 inches and under. 

Cost Comparison 

Mini cows can range from about $2,000 to approximately $5,000. Those price tags only depend on age, seller, bloodline, and gender of the cow. Typically, heifers (females) cost double since they can be bred and they can produce dairy. 

Standard cows can vary in price depending on seller, bloodline, and gender. Sometimes you can get them cheap for a couple of hundred dollars or they can be up to approximately $3,000. Again, heifers (females) typically are more since they can be bred and can produce dairy. 

Mini Vs Regular Size

Mini cows can get up to 42 inches full grown. They can weigh between 500-700 pounds depending on health and build. As calves, the miniature cows are small enough to be able to be placed in the back of a truck. 

Standard cows average approximately 62-69 inches high coming in at a weight of 900 – 1,100 pounds. If you are not familiar with cows, you probably have seen the standard cows more often than none. 


Cows can eat up to approximately 3% of their body weight. So, when it comes to the Mini cows, they can eat up approximately fifteen pounds of good dry food a day. Make sure to measure out the appropriate amount based on the diet best for your mini cow based on what it is providing. 

Standard cows typically eat approximately 55 pounds of dry food a day. If they are providing dairy they will eat more, and they will need a certain mixture of healthy minerals and vitamins. Make sure to provide them when that as well. 

Whatever you do, make sure you do research on the type of cow and the purpose of the cow. Otherwise, they can get sick and or gain infections that are not safe for dairy or meat production.  

Milk Quality 

Mini cows tend to have high cream content in their milk. It can range approximately fifteen to thirty percent cream depending on the season and overall milk volume. They can produce approximately one to four gallons a day. 

Standard cows do not have much of a cream content, however, with the milk not being pasteurized, it still provides great benefits to their milk. They can typically produce four to eight gallons a day. 


Mini’s are typically too close to the ground to comfortably milk by hand and too low to attach a milking claw without adjusting. Some have been known to build milking stands that help to milk minis easier. 

Standards allow more room to be able to milk. It can be milked by hand or machine. Make sure to keep the area clean and be careful. The cow may defecate and cause a health concern while milking your cow. 

Tips: Milking

Cows remember, so whatever you do, be nice to them and they will be nice to you. When milking, you want a calm cow so that you do not get kicked or injured in any way during milking. Also, so that you do not lose all of your milk. 

Frequently handle and love on your cows, this way they can build patience and trust. It will help make things easier for you and the cow in the long run. 

Make sure that the area you are milking in are clean and clear. Also make sure your cow is clean and well taken care of before and after milking. This way you can help prevent from their teats and udders from chaffing and becoming uncomfortable for her. 

Sometimes it is easier to give them food during milking so that they have something to do while you milk. Some put things like coconut oil to their teats to ensure they do not get chaffed and cracked. 

Make sure to have an extra bucket. You do not want to have all your milk in one bucket. So if your cow gets a little anxious, and she or you knocks the bucket over, you are not losing every bit of the milk you have already milked. 

Cows respond to calm direction. They do not respond well to yelling, hitting, or anything of that sort. A stressful cow can ultimately slow or stop production of milk. 

Some smaller farms cattle share, which means that the young get their fill, then the milking begins. This allows the ability to raise young to make money in the future while still caring for your family. 


Minis are very small and can easily be sheltered. Some have used cattle panel shelters and they have worked fine. Considering their size, it is not needed to get anything large and fancy for them. They typically only need approximately half an acre grass area. Some use woven fencing since it does not take much to keep the minis in. 

Standard cows are larger and need more space. Typically, they need stables to be kept in. They need approximately one to two acres of grass. An electric or woven wire can be used to keep them in. Take note that cows can jump. They also can stomp through fences if not properly maintained. 

You can use the formulas in this article to more accurately determine how many minis you can have on your farm.

Clean up 

Mini cows are small and do very little damage. They do not climb fences or rut up the ground. They still produce a bit of manure, but in a small area, this can be a bit of a hassle. 

Standard cows weigh more so they can rut up easily, especially when it is raining. They can also jump fences and stomp down fences. They also produce a lot of manure but typically they are placed out in a field, so clean up is not necessary. However, if placed in stalls, you may have to clean up the stalls. 


Mini cows can be bred by live cover or artificial insemination; however, it can only be by a small bred bull. It can cause safety issues if you are not careful. Semen can cost approximately $25 – $250 depending on the seller and bloodline. 

Standard cows can be bred with just about any breed and are usually bred by artificial insemination since it is cheaper and safer than owning a bull. 

Cows can be bred at any time of the year since they do not have specific times that they need to be bred. They do however cycle every seventeen to twenty-three days. Their cycle typically runs approximately twenty-one days. This makes it much easier to plan the pregnancy of your cow. 


While both cows are used for beef it is important to know exactly how much you are wanting to produce. Are you wanting to strictly provide for your family or are you trying to provide outside of that? If you are trying to produce strictly for your family, it is recommended that you get a miniature cow. 

Mini cows can provide enough meat to feed a family for up to 6 months. It is recommended that there is a rotation for every six months this way. If a standard cow was used for a family, there would be wasted meat not only in processing but also in the last of storage. 

Types of Mini Cows 

Miniature Belted Galloways originated from the highlands of Scotland. They are seen the oldest hornless cattle in the world. This is a highly prized breed and on the list of endangered breeds. 

Dexter Mini cows start from Ireland and are equipped with horns on each side. They live on grass and are great in areas with drought problems. They do, however, need a lot of water if you used them for milk production. 

Miniature Zebu Cows are among the oldest breeds. They are also called Brahman Cows, and are recognized for their humps. Zebu cows carry their calves for nine months just as human mothers do. 

Jersey Mini Cows are one the oldest dairy breeds, and is based from Jersey, a British island off the French coast. They are known for their high-quality milk. 

Miniature Herefords comes from England and are widely known as beef animals. They are easy to care for and easily trained. 

Lowline Angus descended from Aberdeen Counties and were created by accident. They were part of an Australian study that was trying to determine which, small or large, animals were more efficient in turning grass into meat. 

Miniature Texas Longhorns are a mix of breed from India and Iberia. Their horns can grow up to seven feet from tip to tip. These guys are meant more for show and pets. 

Miniature Scottish Highland from the highlands of Scotland are ruffed and tough. They are pretty well self-sufficient and can be raised pretty much anywhere. They are typically used for both milk and beef. 

Types of Standard Cows

Holstein cows are names for their German background. They are among the largest of the dairy cows weighing in at 1,500 pounds when grown. They produce milk that is high in protein and contain a large butterfat content. 

Jersey cows are the second most common type of cow and are among the best milk producers. Jerseys average between 800 to 1,200 pounds when grown. 

Ayrshire cows originate from Scotland and while they were once known for their horns, they are now dehorned as calves and can grow to weigh approximately 1,200 pounds. 

Brown Swiss Cows began in Switzerland and is often used in cheesemaking. The average grown cow weighs approximately 1,400 pounds. 

Tips: Caring for Mini Cows 

Make sure that the area for your cow has a variety of greens. The more there is, the better nutrients there are for your mini cow. 

Fences need to be well maintained and shade be provided that the cow can have a place to rest and cool down. It is a bonus if their water can also be in the shade. Their water needs to be fresh at all times and cool enough to be able to be used by the cow. 

It is recommended at least once or twice a week to do a full rundown of your cattle and make note of anything that changes in your cow. If you notice a weight change you can care for them diligently. This also allows them to be comfortable with you and it will be easier to train. 

Make sure to always check with people who you know also raise cattle for tips and tricks. Also make sure that your cows are always up to date on their vaccinations.  

Tips: Caring for Standard Cattle 

Just as mini cows and other animals it is important that they always have fresh water to get to. Some recommend getting an automatic watering system (view on Amazon) to keep your cows watered. Salt and minerals blocks should be available especially in areas that are contain mineral deficient soil. 

Adult cows need about two to four pounds of hay per one hundred pounds of weight daily. It is recommended to obtain a hay feeder (view on Amazon) and covered area. Hay that goes bad can mold and be hazardous. The more cows you have, the more storage you may need to invest in. 

It is important to watch yourself and watch where you are going when handling standard cows. Some may at some point feel threatened and can cause injury if kicked or caught with a head throw. Do not get yourself cornered. Cows will chase you into a wall or gate if they in any way feel that you are going to do them harm. 

Always do thorough checks of your cows by running your hands over them. Not only does this build trust, but it also helps you if something comes up in their health. It is easier to find and fix the sooner things are found. If any cattle are standing alone, it is normally due to sickness unless it is a pregnant cow. Then she may be fixing to give birth. Know your animal, know their behaviors. 

Sturdy fences are needed for standard cows. They should be approximately four to five feet high, stretched and secured on sturdy posts every eight to ten feet. Be sure to keep maintenance up continuously as cows can kick and jump fences.

Related Articles