Larry and Nancy Midlin should be having a little cow right about now.
Last week, mom was set to go into labor any day at the beautiful Exuberance Farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania.**
That’s where we got to meet the Mindlin’s herds of miniature cattle.
It’s been a dream of Kristina’s as long as she can remember, and the Mindlins were so gracious to let us visit.
The two moved up to rural PA after leaving behind city life in New Jersey to pursue their rural passion for animals and the farm.
Larry used to run a limo company, Nancy is a college grad who worked in the legal field in New Jersey, until they realized they wanted a different life for themselves.
“I often wish the deck of the house and the front yard had nicer ‘curb appeal,’” Nancy said. “But then I remember that there is no curb and no neighbors to worry about pleasing!”
The farm is over 23 acres and debt-free, the cows bring in a little profit for Exuberance. Larry now also transports race horses in season.
Not a lot of people have checked out these tiny bovines, and we think some don’t even believe they exist.
But the happy clan includes all kinds of mini breeds – Holstein, Scottish Highlander, Jersey and Zebu.
They’re all pedigreed and not affected by dwarfism (a genetic condition which can eventually spell health troubles). They are all genetically tested, true mini breeds.
The dairy cattle can give up to four gallons of milk per day in the high season — Some of these rare minis have been bred to have a milk protein similar to that of goat’s milk (A2/A2), for those with dairy sensitivity. The Mindlins don’t raise any for meat, but it is possible (all slider jokes aside). For beef, having a larger herd for breeding purposes would be necessary to make it cost effective. The mini cattle’s small stature allows them to live on a smaller piece of land, eat less, forage more, and mature far quicker than today’s average-sized cow (Cows throughout history were naturally smaller than the ones that many of us are used to seeing, but were bred to be larger in size as the industrial food system grew). This means that mini cattle take up less space, food, and energy; while putting out more product on average (relative to the resources they consume).
During our visit we got to peek into the birthing barn, where one mama was shy, getting ready to calve any moment now – the couple keep a close eye on her through their webcam.
They are as docile as they are adorable, with a demeanor somewhere between a large dog and a teddy bear. We did our best to give a sense of perspective in our photos (too many people thought they were Photoshopped!).
The cows are alai not quite as messy as full sized, and along with the heritage breed goats, Larry and Nancy boast they haven’t had to mow the lawn in years.
If you would like more info on the breeds and are thinking about raising some please check out their page – the Mindlins are very knowledgable and friendly folks! We hope to start our herd with Exuberance cattle as soon as we find our farm!
-Dave & Kristina-
**Update: The day after this was published, the new calf was born! It’s a boy!