North Texas Daily

Krum couple breeds world’s littlest longhorn

Krum couple breeds world’s littlest longhorn

February 25
02:29 2011

By Candice Lindsey / Staff Writer –

There are less than a dozen miniature longhorn breeders in the world, and Denton County is home to one of the breed’s pioneering families.

Bill and Sandy Buck of Krum began breeding miniature longhorns about 20 years ago. The couple said they had heard “mini this and mini that,” but never mini longhorns. Nine generations later, the Bucks have bred nearly 100 miniature longhorns, including Miss Little Lady, who, at 16 pounds heavy and 18 inches tall, measures as the world’s smallest Texas Longhorn.

At five months old, Lady is only slightly bigger than the newest addition to the Indian Mountain Ranch, a 2-day-old calf not yet named. Lady’s still shy and hasn’t yet warmed up to the Bucks, but every calf eventually does, Bill Buck said.

“It took a while to get them down to a smaller size,” Bill Buck said. “But they started dropping size by about the third generation.”

The Bucks have found the breeding process to be a relatively easy one. By closing the herd, keeping the smaller ones and selling the bigger ones, the Bucks have shrunk their longhorns to half the full-grown breed’s size.

“You don’t breed a mother to her son, a father to his daughter, or a full brother to a full sister,” Bill Buck said. “But otherwise, there is incest. You’re breeding, like, cousins.”

Between October and March, the Bucks keep the bulls separated from the cows during a ‘no breeding’ period. Mother Nature doesn’t always allow for this to happen, but, the Bucks said, they don’t mind, because longhorns are able to take care of themselves through the birthing process.

“Longhorns were wild for 500 years. The ones that had trouble birthing died and just didn’t make it,” Bill Buck said. “Now, you have a breed of animals that have no trouble birthing.”

Miniature longhorns live to be about 20 years old, and the Bucks typically sell them by the time they reach age 10.  The price of the miniature longhorns ranges from $2,000 to $25,000, depending on how well the animal matches breeding standards.

People have come from all over the United States to purchase the Buck’s miniature longhorns.

Eric and Anna Redeker bought their first group of miniatures from the Bucks last year. Because they had such a positive experience, the Redekers have become more involved with the breed.

“We found miniature longhorns were the breed that got us most excited,” Eric Redeker said.

Redeker now serves on the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America review panel, which determines if a miniature longhorn meets the proper standards to be registered.

Redeker calls Bill Buck a “foundation breeder,” in that he is one of the first to work toward establishing a breed standard for miniature longhorns, and he was among the first to shrink the animals.

The Bucks’ two granddaughters, Haley and Allison, help Sandy Buck make sure all the new longhorns have names to match their stature. Miss Lillie, Miss Buttercup, Miss Princesses Haley and Allison, Miss Maybeline, Miss Dasie, Little Oscar, Little Bubba and Wanda May are just a few.

The Bucks said their longhorns are affectionate, full of personality, and make better pets than cats or dogs. They’ve found that miniature longhorns are easier to maintain and tend to take care of themselves as long as they have food, water and each other.

“What is important to us is that they find a good home,” Sandy Buck said.

Indian Mountain Ranch is located at 3021 S. Branch in Krum, TX. For more information about miniature longhorns, visit Bill and Sandy Buck’s website: http://www.imranch.com/.

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