If a passing tourist were observing the fauna about the farmstead of Dr. W. E. Hastings near Mt. Vernon, Ind., he would be aghast. On that pleasant heath graze, plow, cavort, eight zebroids, heavily boned and muscled as their percheron dams, fractious and dainty-footed as their wild zebra sire.
Dr. Hastings obtained from Germany a zebra stallion which he bred to white Arabian mares, percherons and common farm mares, the percherons bearing the best foals. The offspring resemble the ordinary mule in their deep chests, large necks, strong legs, but retain the gaudy stripes of their wild African forebears.
His object was to produce an animal that, on minimum food, would work harder in hot weather than a mule. This he succeeded in doing, although the zebroids are difficult to break to harness However, at six years old, the eight zebroids do any farm work that horses perform, and can unquestionably stand far more heat, which is the purpose of the zebra strain. The beasts are docile and intelligent in harness, but race boisterously once loosened in an enclosure, showing speed and agility in pivoting at corners, rivaling panthers in their ease in clearing fences. If the beasts are corraled with horses, the horses are, in bitter, feudal onslaught, ignominiously vanquished.
The Department of Agriculture has conducted experiments in zebra hybridization but the result was an untamable horselike animal. The achievement of Dr. Hastings was corroborated by Farm and Fireside, which states that each zebroid is worth $1000, and, when bred for market, can be produced at a lesser figure.