BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo’s Farmyard is the new home for two Dexter cows (Bos taurus dexter), a rare breed currently considered to be in recovery from declining numbers. The two cows, a mother and daughter, are from a local Connecticut farm. Bridie, born in 2008, and her daughter Moo Moo Rose, born in 2015, are about half the size of a typical Hereford cow, making this breed particularly suited to small family farms. The Zoo has been home to Dexter cattle before, with the last Dexter cow, Lucy, passing away in 2018.
Bridie is registered with the American Dexter Cow Association (ADCA) as “Old Orchard Bridie.” Registration with the ADCA helps to identify and properly record Dexter cattle in the United States.
Zoo Director Gregg Dancho said, “Our newly renovated Farmyard continues to grow with animals that are integral to life on a traditional New England farm. Native to Ireland, Dexter cows are a hardy, multi-purpose breed founded in the mid-1800s. We’re pleased to welcome Bridie and Moo Moo Rose to the Zoo.”
The New England Farmyard reopened after renovations on July 10, with significant upgrades to the area, including newly built barns, pastures, and enclosures for goats, cows, miniature horses, Guinea hogs, chickens, geese, and ducks.The Farmyard showcases heritage breed animals, domestic species that are in danger of disappearing from the landscape. Heritage breeds were originally bred for small family farms but are no longer commonly found. Rare farm animals represent an irreplaceable piece of earth’s biodiversity, just like their wild cousins, and offer variety that may be needed in the future: robust health, mothering instincts, foraging, and the ability to thrive in a changing climate.
About Dexter Cattle
Dexter cattle are the smallest breed of North American cattle, making them ideal for small family farms. Originally brought to the U.S. in 1912 from Ireland, they are considered rare today, with 5,000 members of the species worldwide. Most Dexters are black, although red and dun colored Dexters can be found. Dexters are hardy, forage-efficient cattle with excellent maternal qualities. They produce milk high in solids, making it ideal for butter and cheese production.
About Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Let your curiosity run wild! Connecticut’s only zoo, celebrating its 99th year, features 350 animals representing primarily North and South American and Northern Asian species. Guests won’t want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolves, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves. Other highlights include our Spider Monkey Habitat, the Rainforest Building, the prairie dog exhibit, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can ride on the carousel, grab a bite from the Peacock Café and eat in the Picnic Grove. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is a non-profit organization approaching its 100th year at a time when the mission of helping fragile wildlife populations and eco-systems is more important than ever.
Tickets must be purchased on the Zoo’s website at beardsleyzoo.org; guests taking advantage of the free program for Connecticut children must also make reservations online. In accordance with the state of Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines: we recommend that guests continue to wear masks while visiting the Zoo, but when guests are outside and are able to maintain social distance, masks may be removed. In any indoor area, or when social distancing cannot be maintained, masks are required. Everyone over the age of two, with the exception of those with medical conditions that preclude wearing them, should have a mask available.