We run a small herd of Miniature Zebus on our 450 acres. They are a great compliment to our goat herd and get along quite well with them.
We run a single bull with a group of cows so we always know who the sire is. We try for late spring or early summer calves.
Our Zebus primarily range freely on our ranch. We keep minerals out for them year round and supplement with a good quality hay when pastures are inadequate and during inclement weather (especially during periods of extreme cold, that is extreme for Central Texas). We feed a few cattle cubes from time to time to keep them friendly and coming when called. Ours eat out of our hands. I believe hand feeding helps foster cooperation and trust which in turn makes them easy to work when necessary and a joy to be around other times. However, Zebus are efficient grazers and can easily be overfed which can cause both difficulty conceiving and birthing problems.
Like our goats, we worm when necessary but find that they are naturally quite worm resistant (which means less expensive wormer used!). Another great benefit over other cattle is their size. Being small, they leave a significantly smaller foot print on one's property than big cattle do. We find they do not cause the kind of erosion to our land that big cattle can. And because they are such efficient grazers, they don't seem to overgraze areas like big cattle can.
Miniature Zebus are the only miniature cattle that have always been miniature, unlike other miniature breeds that have been carefully bred down from full-sized cattle. They are a humped cattle and are so labeled Bos indicus, as opposed to the non-humped cattle we normally see in the US, which are Bos taurus.
By nature Zebus are both gentle and intelligent. They are easy to tame if a gentle approach is taken. They are much safer to have around children as they seem to be very careful not to hurt anyone. I find that they are impossible to herd like our more familiar cattle, but that they are very easy to train to follow a feed bag or you if they think you have treats for them.
Zebus are an old breed and are thought to have originated in southern India and Sri Lanka. They can now be found all over the world. They are especially tolerant of heat and are both disease and parasite resistant.
Zebu cows are terrific mothers and go to great lengths to protect their calves. When it is time to calve, the Zebu cow will leave the herd and often hide the baby for a day or two before bringing it to join the herd. Although their udder looks small they have plenty of good rich milk for their calves. I know of several people who routinely milk their cow and get up to a gallon a day. Like goat milk, many people who can't drink ordinary "store-bought" milk can easily consume Zebu milk without physical complications. This is because of the type of beta-casein in the milk. Most European cattle (which include Jerseys and Guernsey's and most other commercially used milk cows) produce A1 beta-casein. Like goats, Zebus normally produce A2 beta-casein. Regardless of what it is comprised of, it is a delicious milk!