Important cattle breeds and their characteristics
Among mammals, cattles belong to the genus Bos (ruminant quadrupeds), and the species being divided into Bos indicus(humped cattle), Bos taurus (without any hump), Bos bubalis (the buffalo).
In India at present there are twenty six well defined breeds of cattle and six breeds of buffaloes found spread all over the country. Cattles are classified under three groups based on the purpose they serve to man. They are Dairy breeds, Dual purpose breeds andDraught breeds. A breed is a group of animals of a species which has for a long period been bred among themselves. The members of the breed have closely resembling characters and these characters are hereditarily transmissible to young ones.
I. Milch breeds (or) Dairy breeds
The cows of this group are high milk yielders with extended lactation periods. The bullocks are of poor draught qualities. These cattle are well built with strong limbs. e.g Deoni, Gir, Sindhi and Sahiwal. The cows in do-mestic usage for milk are non-descriptive types.
1. Sindhi (Red Sindhi, Red Karachi) :
Origin and distribution : The home of this breed is Karachi and Hyderabad.
Distinguishing characters : Medium size and compact body. Thick horns emerging laterally and ending in blunt points. They have intelligent facial expression. Deep dark red colour. Bulls are darker than the cow. They have hump and the udder is large with medium sized teats. The animals are docile and quiet. Bullocks are steady workers, suited for road and field work.
Sindhi cows are hardy and have high degree of resistant to heat and ticks. These are the most economical milk producers among the dairy breeds of India.
Milk production :- Yields as high as 5,443 kg per lactation period.
2. Gir (Kathiawarhi, Surti) :-
Origin and distribution : The breed originated from the Gir forest of South Kathiawar. Impure forms of Gir breeds are found in Baroda and some parts of Maharastra.
Distinguishing characters : The colour is not always entire. Most of these cows have spotted skin. It is usually red, black and red, red and white or white with red spots. The body is well built with clear cut lines. The pure breed has a majestic appearance. Ears are long like a leaf. Tail is long and whip like. Legs are long and well built. Udder is large with matching teats. Bullocks are heavy, powerful and good for draught.
Milk Production : Gir cows are good milk yielders. In some, the maximum yield is 3,715 Kg per lactation period.
II.Dual purpose breeds : This breed of cattle are meant for both milk yield and draught works. The cows are fairly good milkers and the bullocks are sturdy and are useful in draught works like ploughing the field, transport, cart pulling etc. Important examples are Hariana and Ongole.
1. Ongole : Nellore
Origin and distribution :- Ongole tract of Andra Pradesh, Guntur, Narasaraopet, Venukonda, Kandukur taluks of Nellore.
Distinguishing characteristics : This breed is a larger form. The matured male weighs about 700Kg and female weighs about 400 Kg. Ongole breed is usually white in colour with grey marking. Males are dark grey at extremities. Hump is well developed and erect. The horns are stumpy and they grow outwards and inwards. Bullocks are powerful and suitable for cart and road work but are not fast.
Productions : Cows are good yielders, yielding from 1700 kg to 3500kg per lactation.
III. Draught breeds : These breeds are exclusively meant for pulling carts, ploughing fields etc. They are well-built and the skin is well stretched. The bulls are used for draught works. The cows are poor milkers. Important Indian draught breeds are Amrithamahal, Kangayam, Malvi, Hallikar etc.
1. Kangayam (Kanganad, Kongu) :-
Origin and distribution : It originated from Kangayam divisions of Dharapuram taluk of Coimbatore district in Tamilnadu. The breed is also found in Udumalapet, Palladam, Pollachi and in other parts of South India.
Distinguishing characters : The cattle of this breed are of moderate size and the colour of the body is white or grey with black markings. The horns are strong and are curved upwards and outwards. The head is short with prominent forehead. Neck is shorter and thick and the ears are smaller and pointed. They have moderate sized hump, wide muzzle, strong limbs, fine skin and a fine tail. The udder is medium sized with small teats. The bulls are excellent type for hard work.
Production : The cows are poor milkers, yielding about 666 kg per lactation.
Origin and distribution : Commonly found in the South Indian States, predominantly in Karnataka. Hassan and Tumkur regions of Karnataka are the home places of this breed.
Distinguising characters : Body is dark grey in colour, some times almost black. The animals are of medium size. The head is usually long with a bulging forehead and a prominent furrow in the middle. The face is long with small ears. The long horns emerge out, slant backwards in a graceful sweep and then curve upwards to terminate in a sharp point. The hump is moderately developed. The udder is medium sized with small teats. The Hallikar bullocks are draught breeds. They are used for heavy ploughing, transport and other field works.
Production : The cows are poor milkers.
Exotic breeds of cattle : Many milk yeilding breeds of cattle are imported and reared in India. The exotic breeds are successfully crossed with indigenous breeds to obtain cross breeds, which have sufficient desirable characters. European breeds are the first kind of exotic breeds introduced in India about 90 years back. Important ones are short horns Ayreshire, Jersey, Brown swiss, Holstein Friesean, Guernsy and Red Dane.
Jersey : Jersey is one of the oldest dairy breed. It originated from Jersey island adaptable to wide range of climatic conditions and heat. The colour of the breed ranges from white to dark grey, and it is broken and found as patches. Jerseys are nervous and sensitive animals. Jerseys have good ud-ders with large teats. The lactational yield is 4,950 kg with milk fat 5% . The milk has a characteristic yellow colour because of high carotene content. The bulls are vicious than other breed. Cross breeding of Jersey and indig-enous Sindhi and Hariyana produced excellent cross breeds with more than 2000 kg of milk yield per lactation period.
Dairy purpose Dual purpose Draught purpose
cows are high milk cows are meant for Bullocks are good
yielders, with extended milk and bullocks draught animals
lactation. are meant for while the cows are
draught. poor milk yielders.
1. Sahiwal 1. Hariana 1. Amritmahal
2. Sindhi 2. Ongole 2. Kangayam
3. Gir 3. Tharparker 3. Malvi
4. Umblachery 4. Kankrej 4. Siri
5. Karan swiss 5. Hallikar