Legacy Springs Dexters
Drew and Karen Morris
ADCA Owners (#11142)
ADCA farm prefix (LSRanch)
Hello and thanks for visiting our website!
We are Drew and Karen Morris and are glad to meet you! Our farm is in Northeast Oklahoma, right on the Oklahoma state line near Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Below is a quick view into how we got started and fell in love with the Dexter cattle breed!
Land and grazing pasture: our journey with Dexters started there. We did not have much land at our first farm - only about three acres of pasture. Yet, we wanted to raise a few head of cattle, and started our search for the right breed on our little place. As we started looking at various breeds, we also had a few other factors to consider. My job (Drew), at the time, frequently required me to be away from home, and I wanted cattle with a calm temperament so that Karen would have an easier time handling the cattle by herself. Another important factor for me was calving ease. For the same reason, I wanted to minimize, as a much as possible, the likelihood of Karen having to assist in the delivery process of newborn calves by herself.
In addition, we understood that raising cattle requires certain initial investments, including the livestock of course, good fencing, cattle handling equipment (corral and a head gate at least) and some shelter from the cold, wet winter winds. Knowing that we would be needing to make these investments, we wanted as much scale (as many head of cattle) as our tiny acreage allowed.
With these factors in mind, our search led us very quickly to the Dexter cattle breed. We did not know anything about Dexters, but the more we read, the more it seemed that Dexters offered the perfect combination of calving ease, moderate size, calm temperament, and excellent beef and milk qualities for our small homestead.
Two key traits were highlighted in most of our online research about Dexters. First, Dexters are well-known for their calving ease and usually do not require assistance during the delivery process. We found this to be true (several years later), after having five baby calves born in the pasture without assistance at our new farm, including one of our first-time mama cows.
Secondly, Dexters generally have a calm temperament. We have also found this to be true and enjoy walking among our herd – they are very curious and are always looking for treats. We are quickly surrounded by our animals, yet they are polite and not aggressive with their heads. Our Dexter bull is in a separate pasture, and we have different rules for him. He is an awesome Dun, Homozygous-polled, A2A2 Dexter bull, and with a calm temperament like most Dexters. Yet, we do not allow him in our personal space, and believe that a bull is a bull, no matter the breed. And so, we are more careful when in his pasture. The other benefit of our Dexters’ calm temperament is that they are easy on our fences. This is especially helpful at our new farm, where our fences are older and not in the greatest condition.
So, with these two key traits (calving ease and calm temperament), we discovered there were several other amazing qualities that the Dexter breed offered, including:
· Great beef taste – often winning blind taste tests against other popular breeds
· High quality milk production – rich and creamy (Dexter milk is sweet, with high butter-fat content (4%-6%)
· Dexters are hardy foragers and adapt well to various types of grasses, and do not require anything more than quality pasture or hay
· Dexters are roughly about three-quarters of the size of a typical larger breed. So, each Dexter requires less pasture space, and with rotational grazing we could handle four or five Dexters on our small three acres, since our pasture was good quality – mostly tall fescue with some clover here and there.
So, we decided to buy two weaned Dexter heifers, and found an amazing breeder of ADCA registered Dexters in South Mississippi at Garland’s Pride Farms (GPF) (ADCA #5729). Owners Steve and Susan Albritton gave us great guidance throughout the process of becoming new Dexter owners and continue to be great mentors for us as we grow our herd.
We moved from our small homestead in Arkansas to our current location in Northeast Oklahoma in early 2019 and now have about 25 acres of good quality pasture. So, with more pasture, we purchased several more Dexters from GPF and added four amazing heifers from Freedom Farms (FF) (ADCA #2327) last summer. We have also welcomed five heifer calves born at our farm and now have a healthy herd of 18 Dexters.
We are extremely happy with our choice of the Dexter breed, and welcome anyone traveling through or near Siloam Springs, Arkansas to visit our farm – we would love for you to see these amazing animals in person. Dexters are truly an incredible breed. For a virtual tour of our farm, please check out a few of our videos posted at legacyspringsdexters.com.