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From: "Diana Lambing" <>
Subject: [BANAT-L] Farm animals
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 14:19:26 -0000
References: <>

Nikolaus Engelmann's 1961 book 'Die Banater Schwaben' (translated into 'The Banat Germans' by John Michels) gives some insight into
what breeds of horse and cattle were used in the Banat:

'Horse breeding had already achieved a fine reputation very early in the history of the Banat and remained influental until the
recent past because of the exemplary selection methods and the breeding results. The horse owes its unsurpassed positions in large
animal raising to the poor roads and often long distances to the fields which resulted from the splintering of the land ownership
through the years. This led to the breeding of light and unpretentious breeds such as the Nonius and the Gidran. After World War I,
in the course of more intensive working of the land, the German agricultural school at Wotjek attempted, with excellent success, to
cross the Nonius with heavier strains like the Oldenburger and Trakehner...'

'For the advancement of cattle breeding, dairy farms were established in Winga and Modosch in 1721 and stocked with breeding animals
from the alpine countries. The crossing of Simmentaler cattle with Speckled Swiss animals, started at that time and pursued to the
present, finally yielded a native Banat-Simmental-Speckled Swiss breed having a productive capacity of 5,000 pounds of milk per

As for breeds of swine, the established Mangalitzschwein was partly replaced by the English Berkshire and Yorkshire breeds for
better meat quality. In the end, the Yorkshire made the running and the German community of Ostern became pioneering breeders,
followed by Warjasch and Lowrin. However, problems with blindness and danger of suffocation as a result of its pug-face, fundamental
anatomical defects, meant another change of breed, this time to the Deutsche Edelschwein. Closer contacts with Germany and
Siebenb├╝rgen were made and after crossbreeding had not delivered the success it had hoped for, good breeding animals were bought in
from Ammerland and Schlesien in Germany and from Marienburg in Siebenb├╝rgen. Thereafter, breeding stations were set up in the Banat
purely for the breeding of pigs for their meat.

The traditional chickens, with their poor egg-laying productivity and moderate meat yield, took a lot of endeavours to get right.
People tried with the light Leghorn and the the heavier Wyandotte, Plymouth and Rhode Island breeds. The switch-over only became
general when the central agricultural co-operative set up a large poultry slaughter and egg utilization centre in
Temeschburg. The old egg-laying hens were delivered to the ubiquitous milk collecting points to be fattened up in exchange for
day-old chicks of the preferred breed.

A country-wide saying goes, 'Biene unn Schoof pringe des Geld im Schloof' (Bees and sheep bring money during sleep'). With the
farming of the fallow land, breeding of both dropped considerably. The Zigajaschaf (sheep) of the Banat lowlands had a much better
wool quality and production (1.5 - 2.5 kg) than the Zurkanaschaf of the Romanian mountains, although still not satisfactory. So a
change in breed was yet again made through the Deutsche Volksgruppe - they bought 12 elite rams and 300 ewes from nearly a hundred
of the best herds in Germany and set up a stock in Orczydorf. They also crossbred the flock with the Merino ram. Unfortunately, this
attempt came to nothing.

I've translated the last three paragraphs from a section of the Alexanderhausen Heimatbuch, just to give an idea of breeds used in
the Banat.

Diana in the UK

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