If you’re thinking of adding cattle to your small-scale farm but are unsure where to start—let us introduce you to the Milking Devon. This cattle breed is absolutely terrific at producing adequate milk supply, creating drinkable dairy for your family—and then some!
We think you will love the Milking Devon for more reasons than just their favorable milk supply since these beauties are triple-purpose–despite their misleading name. So, the Milking Devon can lend a hoof for anything you could want.
These gals are lovely to keep due to their docile nature and adaptability. Find out why else a Milking Devon might be precisely the type of cow that would make your barnyard complete.
Quick Facts About Milking Devon Cattle
|Breed Name:||Milking Devon|
|Cow (Female) Size:||1,100 pounds|
|Bull (Male) Size:||1,700 pounds|
|Place of Origin:||England|
|Lifespan:||5 – 10 years|
|Production:||High milk yield|
Milking Devon Origins
The Milking Devon is an American-influenced breed that branches off from the Devon of Devonshire, England. Despite its name, it is a multipurpose cattle breed, suiting the needs of any keeper, with a perk being ease of care.
These cows were also used for strenuous work, performing faster than oxen in the area. Devons were masters at producing the finest milk used for Devonshire cream. So, even though they didn’t create milk overflows, what they did yield was sought after for pure quality and richness.
These cows made farmers satisfied in all categories and therefore flourished across Europe. Pilgrims brought Devons to early American settlements in 1623. Soon after, they trailed down and across America, thriving in conditions of all kinds.
Fast-forward to latter-day America, the Milking Devon branched from that more superior breed to increase sustainability and adaptability. Their Devon cousins had this downpat, but breeders thought they could infuse characteristics to make a hardy cattle breed that would work, produce adequate milk, and show ideally lean marbled meat while maintaining the authenticity of original Devons.
Because meat production was so favored in the breed, breeders geared the Devon toward sole market value—which led to the Beef Devon or Red Devon. However, the Milking Devon Association was formed to preserve the colonial-style breed—both sides have accomplished success.
Milking Devon Characteristics
The Milking Devon is a surprisingly sturdy medium-sized cow with extremely docile tendencies. They are the type of cow who requires an understanding of mutual respect. As long as you treat the breed with kindness, they will be easy to handle and care for.
However, the opposite can mean cows are reluctant to cooperate or may behave skittishly. So, establishing a well-rounded connection with your cows is an essential factor in overall small-scale keeping success.
Milking Devon cattle are notably self-sustaining creatures, able to survive in any climate or terrain with low-quality foliage. They are very low maintenance, requiring minimal shelter, although shelter is advised to protect your cows from the elements.
This cattle breed is very prone to being overweight if you give them too much grain. Because of their need for foraging, they need absolutely zero supplementations from you. These are the types of cattle you can put in a field and allow them to graze–that’s more than sufficient.
If they get 100% of their sustenance from their environment, they will have beautiful marbling and lean body mass. Granted, in the winter months, when vegetation is sparse, you will need to make up for the lacking vegetation by giving them a suitable diet in between.
Unlike some other cattle, these beauties are speedy, which makes them even more favorable for farm work. But they also have a keen intelligence that is highly noticeable if you spend any time with them at all. Keepers tend to adore the personalities of these cows because they are interactive and calm.
As the name implies, Milking Devon cattle are used primarily for milk production. While these cattle are medium-sized, the beef is rumored to have a full, robust flavor that is savory and sought after.
But that is misleading considering it is a multipurpose breed, making it a very suitable market meat producer and worker bee.
So, they would be especially valuable on a farm that needed help with physically demanding tasks because of their usefulness. You can count on your Milking Devon for hauling, pulling, and other functions on the farm.
While their milk is entirely drinkable, it is especially desired for cheese and butter making due to its consistency. They are much more producers of quality milk rather than extreme quantities.
Cows make amazing mothers, touting an incredible maternal instinct that is a very favorable quality if you plan to raise calves. The Milking Devon produces up to 12,000 pounds of milk annually. They do very nicely being milked once a day
If you choose to keep a bull, note that they can be hard to control and handle and should never be around children. As with most other bulls, males can be aggressive and unpredictable. Though, if raised by the same farmer from birth, they might warm up to a person—which still has its limitations.
Appearance & Varieties
The Milking Devon is a medium-sized breed that is sound-bodied and capable. While coat hue can vary slightly, these cows range from ruby red to dark chestnut color but tend to be solid. Both males and females are equipped with medium-sized curved, black-tipped horns.
Because this is a medium-sized cattle breed, females weigh roughly 1,000 pounds upon full maturity. Bulls weigh slightly more than that, topping out at approximately 1,700 pounds.
When fed naturally with minimal commercial grain offerings, they are correctly proportioned. However, they can easily become overweight if not monitored correctly.
There are thought to be roughly 500 Milking Devon cows in the United States on average. Luckily, the numbers seem to be steadily moving up. These cattle are immensely useful, but they are also popular for exhibition purposes due to their rich history in early America.
Specifically, the Milking Devon is an American breed that is relative only to the United States. The American Milking Devon Cattle Association preserves the breed, and it’s unlikely to find them elsewhere. So, if you live on another continent, you might have to settle for an ancestor breed instead.
Milking Devon cattle require plenty of acres to graze upon because they get most of their sustenance from their environment.They have very good foraging skills and supreme adaptability, making them a wonderfully hardy breed for both experienced and novice owners. They can survive in very unfavorable conditions with ease, as they are genetically designed to withstand the elements.
Are Milking Devon Cattle Good for Small-Scale Farming?
The Milking Devon is an impeccable choice for small-scale farms. They are triple purpose, easy to handle cattle that survive even the harshest climates and territories. Because of their intelligence, adaptability, and manageability, Milking Devons are beautiful additions to any pasture.
However, if you live outside of the United States, you likely won’t find this cattle breed. You might find an ancestor of the Milking Devon, which is just the regular Devon branching from England.
If you prefer a cow for beef production only, remember that Red Devons and Beef Devons are specialized for this very purpose and readily available in the States, too.
Featured Image Credit: WorldInMyEyes, Pixabay