Gyr is a popular cattle breed of India raised for milk production. This cattle breed is native to Sourashtra region bordering the Gyr forests of Gujarat in western India. They have a soft, thin and glossy coat. These cows are good-looking with a broad forehead, drowsy eyes and pendulous years. The popular body color is shining red with scattered white spots. But black coat with white spots also common. Few districts of Gujarat state such as Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, and Amreli have been identified as the native breeding tract of this cattle. These cattle are highly tolerant to environmental stress and well-known for their resistance to various tropical diseases affecting the cattle. This breed is known by different colloquial names in India, like Bhodali, Desan, Gujarati, Kathiawari Surti and, Sorthi. This is a moderately built cow with a height of 130-135 cm and weight of 385 to 545 kg. This cattle breed is a high milk producer yielding an average of 1590 kg of milk per lactation. This cattle are reared for milk since ancient times by the tribes of the Gyr area such as the Bharwads, Rabaris, Ahirs Maldharis, and Charans. They used to maintain these cows by open grazing in the pastures with abundant fodder. They follow natural breeding of this cattle with no artificial insemination or other modern breeding practices. Therefore, the herds maintained by these tribes are the pure breed of the original race. Gyr cattle are also maintained by some gaushalas (cow barns) in Gujarat nowadays. They are fed with green fodder, pasture and concentrates in the goshalas. In addition to this few private Farms as well. The population of breeding female cows in the state of Gujarat is about 1.78 million.
This cattle breed is extensively used for the development of new cross breeds within India and also across Nations. The crossbreeds between Gyr and Red Sindhi, Gyr and Sahiwal etc. are some cross breeds developed from Gyr in India. It is also used in the development of the crossbreeds in the other parts of the world. Brazil has imported good breeds of cattle from India and developed crossbreeds. Brahman breed is one of the popular crossbreed developed in the Brazil using Gyr cattle.
This breed is recognized as one of the best cattle breeds for milk production because of the quality and volume of milk produced by this cattle. This breed produces A2 type of milk, well known for its nutraceutical properties. Considering the voluminous and high-quality milk produced by this breed and its cool temperament and jovial interactions with people, Gyr cattle is popularly called as “Kamadhenu”, the divine cow of Hindu mythology.
This cattle breed is considered as the pride of Gujarat and a movement for the conservation and breeding of this cattle breed has been initiated under the leadership of Mr. Mansukh bhai Suvagiya, a local farmer turned industrialist from Junaghadh. He has found a trust named Jalshakti trust with the mission of saving the Gyr cattle and water conservation. This noble cause is supported by different organizations like the Swaminarayan Temples, Sagwadi Education & gaushala Charitable trust, etc. Jalshakti trust has succeeded in creating the awareness about the Gyr breed across the public.
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