Bulls, Cows, Heifers & Steers (Which One to Choose)

The lifespan of well looked after miniature cattle can be 20 - 25 + years - so it is worth quite a bit of thought.

Cattle are herd animals, so to be fair, you need to have at least two. Some miniature Galloway cattle are content to be paired up with other animals - sheep, alpacas, goats, donkeys and even miniature pigs. Other miniature cattle are better suited to being part of a herd of cattle (even if it is a small herd).

Steers: Castrated male cattle (testicles removed). Usually castrated quite young so that the little steer remains small and docile. Most breeders recommend a couple of steers for first timers.

Heifers: Young female cattle that have not had their first calf. Most breeders recommend heifers to people wanting to enjoy the younger females while people themselves 'learn the ropes'. Then these people can enjoy new calves on the property later on.

Cows: Mature female cattle that have had their first calf. Most breeders recommend cows to people who want calves sooner rather than later. Buying the cow pregnant is also a good option.

Bulls: Male cattle that have not been castrated. Most breeders don't recommend bulls to a first-timer, unless you want to breed and have at least a small herd.

Steers, if you get them at six months old, are the easiest to manage. Steers don't go looking for a bull or a cow to join with. If you have cows and bulls you will soon discover that their drive to join with a mate can be very strong. Strong enough to ignore or make a mess of your fences.


Full sisters - both full bloods. One being weaned at eight months old.

Unless you plan to have enough cows to keep a working bull working you are better off making other arrangements. There will always be exceptions to any rule and some  little bulls are quite content to stay exactly where you put them. As long as they have the company of at least one steer, many Galloway bulls are fine with a 'small' herd.

Also, unless you are able to borrow a bull or pay to have your cows artificially inseminated, a cow that is cycling may go wandering in search of a bull. They can be very determined. Again, there are always animals that seem perfectly content regardless.


Cuddles with Snuggles - heifer calf number four.

Galloway cows are renown for ease of calving. If you want to experience the joy of your very own calves there is no reason why you should not buy some cows. Make sure you will have enough feed for the calves as they grow and that you have a plan for their future. You need to know what you are going to do with the calves by the time they turn six months old. Some miniature Galloways mature very early - both bull calves and heifers. You may need to separate males and females at a young age to prevent unwanted pregnancies. To avoid calving problems, many Galloway breeders believe it is better to let little heifers grow out (around two years old) before allowing them to join with a bull.