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Miniature Zebus are an old breed of cattle. They were imported from the southern part of India into the U.S. in the 1920's for zoological gardens. Very few were brought in, and even today there are probably less than 800 in the U.S. "We've tracked down all the known breeders in the U.S. and there are less than 60 of them," says Charles Wilson, Zebu breeder near Hernando, Miss. "These are fully formed animals, not dwarves. There has been some interest in developing the breed for use in tropical countries where farmers have small pastures. They're a multiple use breed (milk and meat) and can also be used as draft animals."
Also known as Nadudana Zebu, mini-Ze us are a humped animal, much like the Brahma. The hump is large on bulls, but not always highly developed on cows. It's just ahead of or directly above the shoulders. The hump is noticeable even on newborn animals. Mature cows stand no more than 42 in. high at the withers and weigh under 500 lbs. Bulls stand no more than 44 in. high and weigh less than 600 lbs. The ears are pointed and usually less than 9 in. long. The horns, up to 12 in. long, usually curve out-ward and upward although some curve down. Most mini Zebus come in shades of grey, white, and black, with black noses and switches on their tails. Spotted animals are seen but not common. Calves are usually born with a red or reddish brown color that changes to grey as they mature. Females have a light shade and eventually become white or nearly so with age. Bulls are usually darker than cows and are often black over the hump and front shoulders. They become darker with age and during the winter months and often have a dark ring around their eyes. Life expectancy is 20 to 25 years.
Mini Zebus are slow to mature. Males often aren't able to breed until they're almost three years. Heifers can't breed until they're two to three years old. Miniature Zebus also don't breed back as quickly as other cattle, often waiting four to six months.
According to James Morgan of the Inter-national Miniature Zebu Association, miniature Zebus are a tropical animal and don't handle the cold well. "I keep mine in a well-insulated barn when the temperature is be-low freezing. They won't venture out, even if given the opportunity, when it's cold or windy. However, I've found that with proper housing they do fine."
Miniature Zebus are a hot commodity, with 1 to 3-year old bulls selling for as much as $4,000 and heifers and young cows for as much as $8,500.
For more information, contact FARM SHOW Followup, James A. Morgan, Inter-national Miniature Zebu Association, 2560-17 Mile Rd., Kent City, Mich. 49330 (ph 616 678-5409).

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #4