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  • Writer's pictureJ. A. Thomas

Why does my mini longhorn look like a ______fill in the blank?

Or why does my mini longhorn not have very long horns?

Or how large can a mini longhorn actually be?

Craigslist is a great place to find deals on almost anything. However, there is always the caveat of 'buyer beware' that goes along with any purchase based solely on that. I looked for over a year to find Texas LONGhorns that actually had LONG horns. I saw so many available that had the short Dexter curved horns, or the v shaped Zebu style horns or the closest was the Corriente, which is actually a cousin to longhorns but with much shorter horns. People have given all types of excuses for their appearance and if you are ok with it I am ok with them in your pasture. However, for me I wanted some with LONG horns, relative to their size.

Here is a great example of a two year old cow with good horn growth. I expect her horns to keep growing.

Another thing to be aware of is baby animals grow up. I mean really up! I have seen some animals posted as mini in multiple breeds and wonder to myself "That really looks like a normal sized 7 month old calf." There are those out there that will sell you a so called mini animal for higher money than they can get normally, yet lower than most mini's are really priced. If the price seems low take extra caution. It is a real bummer to get home a mini that grows and grows and grows up to be a normal sized cow. I have a jersey that is on the high side of mid size that was originally sold as a mini. She came with a calf that was from a 'Mini bull', but seems scetchy with mom outgrowing. Now to be fair two things need to be understood here. The person selling to me did not sell her as a mini and I saw her in person and chose to make the purchase as I wanted a nurse cow. The second and very important is that most mini's are not to many generations from a normal sized animal in the genes and there are the chances of cropouts anytime. So animals may outgrow mini size. Being in the Mini longhorns I am very aware of this as the mini longhorn is probably one of the youngest breeds in light of mini size.

Above is a 2 year old cow that has great horn growth for two years old.

I looked at quite a few farms and found all kinds of animals online to look at. Pictures do make it hard as often the animals cannot be measured accurately because there is nothing of known size around them. I greatly encourage you to find some breeders that will show you what they have, every breeder I have ask to see their stock has allowed me to come and see them. Overall they are extremely friendly and willing to show off their stock. I have never been to look without having in mind to buy something, although I have not always found what I want. Another awesome opportunity to see them a bunch in person is to find a longhorn show. This way you get to meet multiple breeders and see a small idea of what they have, you may even narrow down who you want to follow up on for a ranch visit. I have heard breeders say they are breeding for the small size now and can add the horn back on, which is OK, but in the meantime the animals available have proportionately short horns, which I did not want. I wanted an animal that had the Texas longhorn look. Well I finally found some and now raise them. Other animals I see people asking about I think to myself that can't be full blood. I chose to raise registered stock because I wanted to know that there were not other influences genetically in bringing down their size. Which often gives them a different look. I am very happy with the animals I have and look to help others understand that everything offered as mini longhorn is not. So remember that if you want to raise mini longhorns do yourself a favor and find purebred Texas longhorns. They are definitely worth it.

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