Willowbank title

Nadudana Zebu Cattle

Nadudana Zebu Cattle

WILLOWBANK FARM STUD

Zebu at Willowbank

In the late 1990s, Willowbank became aware of the existence of Miniature Zebu cattle in Australia. Some time was spent in locating them, and more time was spent in trying to import genetic material. Three separate attempts were made with a number of cows to obtain embryos, but without success. Eventually the decision was made to import live animals, and in May 2008 two bulls and two heifers arrived. The animals were selected from a stud in the Snowy Mountains, that were well used to similar conditions that are found here. This stud was breeding pure and crossbred animals for specialty restaurants and airlines. Animals were tested for tenderness, taste, and similar requirements. The animals selected for import were DNA tested to give as wide a range of genetics as is available in Australia.

Willowbank Stud is engaging in an upgrading programme, as well as maintaining the pure lines.

WHAT ARE THEY?

Zebu at Willowbank

Zebu is a general term for a large group of cattle found mainly in Asia and Africa. They come from the group Bos indicus, which are generally characterised by having a hump over their shoulders. The breed name 'Nadudana' refers to their small size.

Two to three thousand years ago, a group of zebu cattle arrived in Ceylon or what is now known as Shri Lanka. Over that length of time they developed their own characteristics, one of the most notable being their diminutive size. They are unique in that they are not a miniature of a larger breed, but a true breed of their own that is very small. One of the world's true miniature breeds.

Zebu at Willowbank

In the early 1900s, some were exported to zoos, and later some individual breeders also obtained some animals. In more recent times Shri Lanka has prohibited the export of the animals because they are considered a heritage breed, but at the same time has encouraged the importation of genetics from western breeds – that now threatens their purity, and they are considered highly endangered.

There are now small numbers in Europe and the UK, and another small group in North America from which 19 were imported into Australia. They are probably the oldest and smallest breed of cow left in the world, with a fascinating heritage.

WHY HAVE THEM?

Zebu at Willowbank

A small number of animals may be available, and bookings taken. Enquiries to mike@willowbank.co.nz

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2011