A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Livestock & Animals in Banat
Breeding, produce & animals for home use & export

Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Horses, Chicken & Geese, Storks

and Goats





Johann Taugner with his young steer. 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 year.

(Nikolaus Engelmann, 1961, Die Banater Schwaben, English: The Banat Germans by John Michels. Translation by Diana Lambing provides insight into what breeds of horse and cattle were used particularly in the Banat.





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 & 300 ewes from nearly a hundred of the best herds in Germany & set up a stock in Orczydorf. They also crossbred the flock with the Merino ram. Unfortunately this attempt came to nothing.

(Nikolaus Engelmann, 1961, Die Banater Schwaben, English: The Banat Germans by John Michels. Translation by Diana Lambing)



(Alexanderhausen Heimatbuch, translated by Diana Lambing)

Photos taken by J. McKim, '04 in Billed at the home of
Adam & Roswitha Csonti



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 Siebenbürgen 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 Siebenbürgen.  Thereafter, breeding stations were set up in the Banat purely for the breeding of pigs for their meat.

(Nikolaus Engelmann, 1961, Die Banater Schwaben, English: The Banat Germans by John Michels. Translation by Diana Lambing)





Horse breeding had already achieved a fine reputation very early in the history of the Banat and remained influential 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.

(Alexanderhausen Heimatbuch, translation by Diana Lambing)




Chickens & Geese

The traditional chickens, with their poor egg-laying productivity and moderate meat yield, took a lot of endeavors to get right. People tried with the light Leghorn and 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 center 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.

(Alexanderhausen Heimatbuch, translation by Diana Lambing)

Photos taken by J. McKim, 2004, Billed,
home of Adam & Roswitha Csonti





This stork nest is built on top of a power post. Take notice the whitewash on the power post and also on the trees in the background. This was done for decorations, it also protects trees from being damaged from insects and animals.

(Contributed by Alex Leeb)





Heritage » Economy » Livestock & Animals in Banat