Wetterau Origins: Welcome to Zebu’s farm in Unter-Schmitten

They are always curious, animals. At the Nidda Autumn Market, Marco and Nancy Osner of Unter-Schmitten are honored as the original Wetterau. The family has a zebu flock.

In the 1970s, Zeppos came to Germany hesitantly and very sporadically. At that time, they were mainly seen in zoos. Today there are more than 20 companies nationwide, which mainly devote themselves to these animals as a part-time job, such as the Ußner family.

Since 2012, she has kept a herd of dwarf zebu on her unfertilized pastures, which currently have 55 animals. Marco and Nancy Ußner is a certified organic farm with breeding since February 22, 2022. The herd consists of twelve suckling cows with a change of breeding bulls. Cows, calves and bulls always remain on separate pastures. Animals are allowed to grow up to about 30 to 36 months of age. Then a bull weighs on average about 500 kilograms, and a cow 400. About 60 percent of this is the meat crop.

Due to the slow growth of large-scaled animals, the meat is of high quality. It has a reddish color, fine-grained and has a subtle game taste. Animals are slaughtered locally and sold directly only. When it comes to handling, the “nose to tail” principle applies – just about everything is used from nose to tail. This means that minimal slaughterhouse waste is still present. Leather tanning trials are currently underway for leather production in the near future.

Like users Came on zebu

If you asked him about his Zebus, Marco Osner would be excited. His main job is a paramedic, and his wife, Nancy, is a trained bakery saleswoman. However, she does not pursue this profession as she likes to dedicate herself to her three young children and to the company. Marco Usner has a farm worker certification as a farmer, so he’s technically well positioned.

Before the decision to marginalize was made, there were about 24 hectares of wasteland in one form or another. The Ußners thought about how to better use the land and decided to raise livestock. Now, of course, there was the issue of race. They came to Zebus because the animals can be kept outdoors all year round and are generally easy to care for. They are shy but trust animals and are frugal eaters who are content with the leftovers left by the sheep. They can be fed in one area for up to seven weeks. In southern Germany, Zebus is sometimes used for the aftercare of vineyards. Livestock move gently on the pasture and do not leave traces, which in turn is beneficial for the regrowth of the forage base.

Ußners show their animals a lot of compassion and respect, and each animal has a name and a story. There is Dora, whose mother had to slaughter in an emergency, who later grew up in the family basement and was cared for so she could join the other animals in the pasture. But there is also Olaf, who is separated from the others to wait for the butcher as stress-free as possible. “After all, this is not a petting zoo,” says Marco Osner.

This is how it works marketing

Next to the dwarf zebos pasture, there is also a moving hen with organically produced eggs. Marco and Nancy Usner join the Markschwarmer Association to market their products. Customers can select and order goods online using this keyword and then pick them up in person at a point in Frankfurt on Cassellastrasse and at the Ußners front door or pick them up themselves. An important aspect is sustainability, and short transportation routes are the creed. “In our region, zebu meat has been less well known so far and is therefore also less in demand. On the other hand, clients in Frankfurt are more diverse and open to new ideas,” says Marco Osner about his experiences.

In response to the final request to spell Zebu, Marco Osner summed up his enthusiasm for animals in a succinct but subtle way: “Z stands for confidence, E for stranger, B for hump, and U for uncomplicated.”

Breeding family on their land: Marco and Nancy Osner have been keeping a herd of dwarf zebos on their unfertilized pastures since 2012. Currently, this includes 55 animals.

© Martin Ritter

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