Alambadi cattle is a wonderful indigenous breed that derives its name from a village called Alambadi on the banks of river Kaveri, in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu. In this tract, there are plenty of uncultivated forest lands that allow the cattle an abundant pasture and unrestricted roaming grounds. Alambadi cattle are also found in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu. Raised on the hilly regions of Tamil Nadu, the breed survives on the grazing in the forest regions. The Alambadi cattle in the North are said to be the descendants of the Hallikar breed of Mysore.
Alambadi is mostly bred by Konga Vellalas, Lingayats, Vanniyars and Vokkaligas of the region, in the hilly forest areas of the upper Kaveri basin Mettur (Salem dt.) Pennagaram, Dharmapuri (both in Dharmapuri dt.) Kollegal, Bangalore rural (both in Karnataka state). It is considered to be one of the rarest of breeds in the world. Alambadi is capable of existing even in extremely hot temperatures and its disease resistance capacity is remarkable. Today, this breed has become almost extinct.
The cattle are brought back to villages during harvest times when the harvested fields provide pasture for some time, and the cattle supply the necessary manure for the fields. This breed of cattle mostly exist on grazing and dry fodder only.
- The cattle are medium or large sized with fairly deep but compact body.
- The frame is loose with well-arched ribs, heavy shoulders and tight skin.
- The colours of the body vary in grey, dark grey, black and fawn shades. Some are flesh-coloured while others have dark coloured skin with black muzzle.
- They have white markings on the forehead, limbs and tail.
- The head is dark and moderately long with a narrow face.
- They have sweeping horns that curve backwards and end in sharp points.
- The forehead is prominent and bulging.
- The neck is short and thick.
- The dewlap is broad and thick.
- The ears are small and pointed.
- The hump is fairly large and well-developed.
- The penis sheath is generally small to medium.
- The tail is medium long and tapering to a black switch.
- The legs are short but strong.
- The feet are large and hard with prominent coronary band.
- The hind quarters are narrow and sloping from the croup to the tail.
- Height averages at 124 cms. for males and 115 cms. for females.
- Body length averages at 134 cms. for males and 124 cms. for females.
- Body weight averages at 347 kgs. for males and 282 kgs. for females.
- Average chest girth is 167 cms. for males and 155 cms. for females.
- The calving interval varies from 16 to 24 months.
Like the other Indian breeds the Mewati have good adaptability to extreme climatic conditions and can easily withstand environmental stress or diseases. However, in the recent years, the population of all this breed has gone down considerably and the situation is alarming. As is the case in all other Indian breeds, the primary factors contributing to this sharp decline are adoption of crossbreeding for enhanced milk productivity, mechanization of agricultural operations diminishing the utility of bullocks, shrinking of common grazing land and several other factors.