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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Bull heaven.

After the good rains we had recently, the grass is thick, green and lush, and the cattle grazing on it, fat and sleek.

Came across this Nguni cross bull taking his ease and chewing the cud in the long grass. He was big and confident and as the Zulus say the Numzaan, ie. the boss man. 

Nguni cattle are the indigenous cattle of Southern Africa. Long thought of as scrub cattle by commercial farmers they are now gaining ground as a breed. Tough, disease resistant and able to survive the harshest conditions, they thrive where other breeds really struggle.

A few yards away his mate was doing the same. The ladies were grazing all around them. Lush grass, feminine company, what more could a bull ask for?

Pure bred Nguni bull. Photo Nguni Breeders Society.

In the late 19th century the then authorities in South Africa decided to improve the local cattle stocks by importing "better" European breeds. It became illegal to use Nguni bulls to breed with the local cows, and the Nguni breed almost became extinct. In the 1940's the government set up a research commission to investigate the possibility of reviving the breed. By 1994 the breed was recognised as a distinct breed in it's own right. 

The colouring of these cattle is extremely diverse with the most beautiful patterns and colours. Some people claim that this is the most beautiful breed of cattle on the planet. I tend to agree with them.


Gorges Smythe said...

Isn't it amazing how man thinks he can improve on what God put in place? I can't believe the government made it ILLEGAL to use native bulls. That sounds as much like trying to destroy the native culture as the native breed.

Phillip said...

You have a point Gorges. Traditional African culture revolves around their cattle.

Shoreman said...

Most of the bulls I've seen around Nor Cal are solid black. In fact, I don't remember any that weren't.


Jo said...

I would love to have an Nguni hide carpet! That top bull reminds me of our oldest cat here in Kenya: Ginger - definitely the Numzaan and takes no nonsense even from dogs around the camp! Love the history about the Nguni cattle. You're a born teacher... Love and blessings, Jo

Kay L. Davies said...

Governments do some strange things. Let's not encourage this disease-resistant breed. Oh, right, good idea.

Joyful said...

It is a beautiful looking bull. I agree with Jo and would like a carpet out of the hide. Lovely photos of the bulls deep in the grass.

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