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
“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,”
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,”
“I never met one I didn’t like,” Nordin quipped.