7.27.2010

Tiny Tuesday! Sustainable mini cattle.

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From top: Mini Jersey cows via Pathways to Transition,
miniature cattle from
Grawood Miniature Farm.


Not only are these miniature cattle varieties charming, they may also be the answer to eco-friendly, sustainable beef in the US. According to this recent article in the Guardian, just 5 acres of land is enough to raise 10 mini cows, which yields 3 times more beef than 2 normal sized cows, using only a third of the amount of feed. As far as greenhouse gasses go, 10 mini cows produce the same amount of methane gas as one full size cow. What do they taste like? "The bigger the cow, the longer the cells in the muscle are. A shorter cell means more tender beef, so smaller breeds have naturally better flavor." Hmm, seems like a win-win to me.

Being "mini" is only relative to the standard sized cow, which means that one of these babes is still large enough to bowl you over. They are approximately a third of the size of standard cows, weighing anywhere between 500-800 lbs and standing 36-46" tall at the hip. Still smallish, considering that it is a COW. To milk one, you may have to sit on the ground, or even lay on a dolly like a mechanic. Hehe.


But enough about eating them. They are awfully cute, allegedly docile and "people-friendly" - too lovable to be made into burgers, don't you agree? Small breed milk cows, like those miniature Jerseys pictured on top, would be great to keep around the homestead. One of those would produce enough milk, butter and cheese on a weekly basis for a family of four, plus leftovers to give to neighbors and friends (source: Mother Earth News). As opposed to the standard milking cow who produces 6-10 gallon a day, the bitty one only produces 1- 1 1/2 gallons a day. That's still a boat load of milk. I'd practically be drowning in delicious homemade ice cream, mozzarella, butter and cream.

Maybe someday if things pan out how I'd like, we'll have the perfect spot of land to suit a collection of tiny barnyard animals. Don't think I've forgotten about these guys. Raena, my friend and fellow micro-pig enthusiast, brought the amazing Carnitas to my attention this morning. !!!





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