SAVE THE DEVON
AMERICAN MILKING DEVON CATTLE at the FLYING W RANCH
Pilgrims were here two years without cattle. They needed triple purpose cattle - Milk, Meat, and work. In 1633, the King of England sent three American Milking Devons (two cows and one bull) to Plymouth Colony.
The westward expansion in the 1840's and 1850's, involving an estimated 400,000 people on the Oregon, Mormon, California, and Santa Fe Trails, was made possible largely due to the use of oxen. The American Milking Devon oxen was the oxen of choice. Oxen could eat as the walked. Alternatively, if horses we used to pull, a large quantity of feed had to be hauled on the wagons.
Today the American Milking Devon oxen are listed as a critically endangered species by the American Livestock Breeds Association. There are approximately 1,600 registered animals. Angus and Herefords produce more beef, and Holsteins, Jerseys, and Guemseys produce for milk. Few use oxen in draft work. For these reasons, the Milking Devons, and oxen in general, have largely disappeared in the U.S.
An ox is a 4 year old (or older) steer. A steer is a castrated bull. Most steer are butchered long before they age. American Milking Devons grow until they are 7 years old.
The butter fat content of a Milking Devon milk is approximately 4% (comparable to a Jersey). It is excellent for making butter and cheese.
Milking Devons are calm, friendly, and very intelligent. Milking Devons make excellent oxen and are highly prized by teamsters. They are fast walkers and strong for their size. Milking Devons are known for the adaptability to new environments.