2013 - Volume #37, Issue #2, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
World's Shortest Bull Is Big On Attitude
“He’s shiny, dark black with lots of attitude,” explains Tom Lavery. “Even though he’s small, he thinks he’s the boss and stomps around as though he’s 10 ft. tall. He has never seen himself in a mirror to know any better.”
Lavery’s son, Ryan, was exhibiting his own Dexter cattle at a rare breeds show in 2010 when he saw 3-month-old Archie with another family’s cattle. At 13, Ryan was already a committed farmer, and he decided to purchase the calf to raise for beef.
“But because of his friendliness and cute looks, he became more of a family pet from the start,” Lavery says. Then, when he didn’t grow, the Laverys knew there was something special about Archie.
Dexters are a smaller breed to begin with – bulls average 45 in. at the withers. Originating from southwest Ireland, they are hardy enough to survive outside year round and thrive on poor pasture. They provide good milk and have exceptionally good-tasting, rich, marbleized meat. Ryan started his herd when he was 7. He and his father, a building engineer, converted part of his grandfather Eddie’s farm that once had larger stock to adapt to Ryan’s smaller breed. He currently owns six pedigree Dexter cattle.
“We had to replace the round cattle feeders with sheep feeders, and the barbed wire fencing was replaced with sheep wire,” Lavery says. He adds that the family enjoys the Dexter breed’s zest for life and the “antics and cunning” they add to the farm.
With Archie’s new fame, the farm added a bit more security and rubber matting to make Archie and his fellow cattle more comfortable.
Archie has also done charity work – three weeks of appearances around Christmas to raise money for various charities, for example.
He’s a patron of Henny Penny Libraries, a charity that provides education to children in India’s slums. Guinness World Records sponsored the opening of another library in Archie’s honor.
His status as farm pet has its bonuses, as well as its consequences. Archie hasn’t grown up, but he has grown out since being measured for the world record.
“Archie’s favorite treat is bread, but he has become extremely fussy and will only eat fresh Nutty Crust bread from a local bakery known as Irwin’s,” Lavery explains. “For Nutty Crust bread, Archie will do pretty much whatever he’s asked.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Follow up, Tom Lavery, 1c Derryola Island Lane, Aghalee, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland BT67 0DN (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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