The Brahman or Brahma is a breed of Zebu cattle (Bos taurus indicus) that was first bred in United States from cattle breeds imported from India.

Brahman bull

The modern American Brahman breed can trace it’s roots back to Indian Bos indicus cattle. They are the “sacred cattle” of the Hindu faith and never used for meat in those regions. This also inhibits their importation to the States. The American Brahman traces back to a few imported bulls in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These bulls were crossed with European breeds (Bos taurus) and over time the American Brahman was born. This breed has a huge impact on crossbreeding specifically in the warmer, more humid Southern States due to their ability to withstand adverse conditions.

It is said that during the period from 1910 to 1920, many cattle in the south-western part of Texas and the coastal country along the Gulf of Mexico showed considerable evidence of Bos indicus breeding. Naturally, many of the bulls that were used were the result of crosses with other breeds. Some breeders attempted to keep the stock pure, but they were in the minority.

A Brahman herd

Since there are records of less than 300 imported Brahmans, most of which were bulls, it must be assumed that other breeds supplied the foundation animals for the breed. The bulls were used on cows of the European breeds and on the descendants of these crosses. By the fifth generation (31/32) the offspring carried not only a preponderance of Bos indicus breeding but selection pressure had permitted the development of an animal generally regarded as superior to the original imports for beef production.

Brahmans are intermediate in size among beef breeds found in the United States. Bulls will generally weigh from 1600 to 2200 pounds and cows from 1000 to 1400 pounds in average condition. The calves are small at birth, weighing 60 to 65 pounds, but grow very rapidly and wean at weights comparable to other breeds.

The disposition of Brahman cattle is often questioned. Brahmans are intelligent, inquisitive and shy. They are unusually thrifty, hardy and adaptable to a wide range of feed and climate. However, these characteristics also suggest careful, kind handling methods. Brahmans like affection and can become very docile. They quickly respond to handling they receive, good or bad. Well bred, wisely selected and properly treated Brahmans are as easily handled as other breeds.

A pair of young Brahman


Cattle Breeds 101: Brahman

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