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Posted September 14, 2004 by publisher in Cuban Healthcare

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ANDREA RODRIGUEZ | Associated Press

Rancher Raul Hernandez’s cows look just like other breed - only they are no larger than big dogs. They’re a perfect source of milk for Cuban families, he says.

Standing about 23 to 28 inches tall, the mini cows can be kept in a small area and they feed on simple grasses and weeds, Hernandez says.

“They are patio cows, easy to work,” the 74-year-old says, smiling under the broad hat he wears to keep off the tropical sun.

“They give up less meat, but they can deliver four or five liters (quarts) of top quality milk to a family,” he says.

After retiring from a state ranch where he worked for more than 30 years, Hernandez decided he wanted to keep working to remain busy and useful.

He acquired the Santa Isabel Farm in the tobacco-growing region of western Pinar del Rio province, about 125 miles west of Havana. Amid the rolling hills surrounded by towering palm trees, Hernandez worked with local agriculture laborers to plant food crops, then he decided to try breeding miniature cows.

Hernandez started out with a tiny bull, which neighbors had ridiculed because of its small size, and began breeding it with the littlest cows he could find. Five years and several generations later, he had a herd of cows that reach no higher than his waist.

He says his success has ranchers throughout the area pursuing breeding experiments of their own to come up with their own tiny cows. And Hernandez is training local teenagers to help care for the little animals.

“Now the neighbors are excited by the idea,” he says.

  1. Follow up post #1 added on September 14, 2004 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    This is a wonderful example of how people can spontaneously come up with solutions to real problems. 

    This has the potential to help many people in Cuba meet some of their basic dietary needs without requiring great tracts of land to sustain these miniature cows. 

    Raul Hernandez deserves an award for such a good idea. 


  2. Follow up post #2 added on October 31, 2004 by Barbara Julian

    Raul Hernandez’ work on breeding miniature cows should be rewarded greatly.  I think it is so wonderful that he did such a thing that would be of so much benefit to so many people.  It is nice to see someone take a challenge and be persistant until success comes.  I thank him very much.  I wish I could see a picture of the cows.  Is there somewhere that I can see some pictures? 


  3. Follow up post #3 added on November 15, 2004 by Bjorn Thoreen

    How can I purchase one of these mini cows?


  4. Follow up post #4 added on November 22, 2004 by Susana Pouso

    I am interested in purchasing. How does one go about buying some of these cows? Thanks, I have given you my home e-mail address


  5. Follow up post #5 added on November 29, 2004 by John

    I would like to import these cows.  Please advise how I can contact the rancher.


  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 08, 2004 by Reza Towhidy

    I am also interested in learning more about these beautiful creatures. I may decide raising them since I have only 7 acres of land. What do one do with the bulls if are not needed for breeding?. Could you kill and eat them or one is going to fight his conscious to do such thing?.
    Thanks
    Reza


  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 08, 2004 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    I would like to see a website about these cows.  Does anyone have one they can post here? 


  8. Follow up post #8 added on December 08, 2004 by Dana Garrett with 252 total posts

    Here is a photo of Mr. Hernandez w/ the cows:

    http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Photos/040910/040911_minicows_hmed.hmedium.jpg


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