Small But Mighty: Miniature Zebu Cattle
Miniature Zebu’s have been around for thousands of years, with their roots coming from off the coast of Southern India. Miniature Zebu’s are also native to Southeast Asia and Africa. With this climate the breed was able to develop a high tolerance to heat and insects. Their ability to do this is thanks to sweat glands and a highly active sub-dermal twitching muscle.
The heritage of the Miniature Zebu dates back to 3,000 B.C., where they were often used as draft animals or milking cows. Several Minatare Zebu cattle began to appear at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. This appearance is considered the first time that the breed had arrived in the United States.
Miniature Zebu are the only naturally miniature breed of cattle. Contrary to popular belief, Miniature Zebu are not tiny Brahmans. Brahmans are crossbred up from bos indicus heritage to produce animals that are larger. It is common to believe that Miniature Zebu are small Brahmans as they resemble the breed closely, but with a few different physical characteristics such as their ears are erect versus pendulous, like the Brahman, and they sprout moderate sized horns.
Miniature Zebu’s are known for being intelligent, easy-to-handle, docile, social, and gentle creatures. They can harmoniously share a pasture with goats, dogs, ducks, chickens, sheep, and many other species. This breed can be easily handled by children and are suited for families with a small acreage.
The origin of Miniature Zebu allows them to be compatible with warm or hot weather. Miniature Zebu actually prefer the heat, but they can adapt to colder weather with shelter. Due to the immunizes, they require low maintenance because they are disease and parasite resistant. Fencing, housing, and equipment are not necessities for the Miniature Zebu breed as well. There are numerous reasons to raise Miniature Zebu cattle including agricultural expectations, being lawn mowers, pets, draft animals, and much more. From preschoolers to young adults, and families, everyone loves showing Miniature Zebu. With their unintimidating size and docile personalities Miniature Zebu are a hit with children looking for an agricultural project.
By Tori Huckaby, 2022 NWSS Media Scholar