Lake Life


Local animal lovers build Zebu herd
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–The old saying that everything is relative, is really true at Munchrath Ranch, located in Purtis Creek Estates.
The partners, Larry Munchrath and Michael Nordin, have a collection of exotic animals they love and care for, ranging from Russian kittens that are considered hypo-allergenic, and a hairless breed of kittens to baby wallaroos (a small kangaroo).
But the largest animal on the farm is the miniature Zebu, a breed of cattle that originated in India.
However, like the saying goes, relative to other breeds of cattle, the Zebu is very small, a limit of 42 inches for registration with the American Miniature Zebu Association.
“But ours are all under 38 inches,” Munchrath said, adding the measurements are taken from the spot behind the tiny hump to the ground.
The Zebu has all the characteristics and looks of the Brahma.
“In fact, the Brahma was bred from the Zebu, which is the only natural miniature cow. All the rest are man-bred (bred down from larger breeds of cattle),” Munchrath explained.
There are only about 70 breeders in the United States and the actual number of cattle remains small.
“We bought our first one 10 years ago, but the deal went bad and the man never gave him to us,” Nordin said.
“We had seen them before and I always wanted one,” Munchrath said.
Then a friend of theirs in California, who also raised wallaroos, agreed to sell them a few head of cattle.
“We got ours from our friend in California. We made two trips, one in November, 2005 and one in May,” Nordin said, explaining they bought 10 the first trip and then 13 in May.
“And we have a dark red cow coming from up north,” Munchrath said.
And just what does one do with a pint-sized animal when most ranchers consider “bigger is better,?”
They really are too rare and too expensive to use for meat – yet, the two men agreed.
The average cow costs approximately $3,500 and the partners just sold one cow for $6,000.
“Right now, it is a breeders market,” Munchrath said.
“In India they are often used to plow the rice fields,” he said, explaining they have small hooves that don’t destroy the tender rice plants.
“They make wonderful pets. They are gentle, yet hardy and they don’t eat grass down to the roots like horses do,” Munchrath said.
“As the longhorn is to Texas, the Zebu is to India,” Munchrath said, adding they love the heat.
“The monks at the monasteries use their milk as it is richer than other breeds,” he said.
Our plans are to help perfect the breed, Nordin said.
They are already in the process of perfecting their own herd by showing their animals, which helps them identify qualities that are desirable.
“We have already showed, and our animals placed well. We took grand champion junior heifer, grand champion senior cow, best in show in cow,” Nordin said.
Another seminar and show is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 8-9, at Woodhaven Farms, 1414 Wilson Road, in Lancaster.
For information visit the web site at americanminiaturezebu
Any animal that falls under the guidelines (of form, characteristics and height) can be registered.
“We hope to develop some very colorful animals – reds, blacks, paints and brindles. We are going to show them to help publicize the breed,” Munchrath said.
“I never met one I didn’t like,” Nordin quipped.





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