Kasaragod dwarf (Kullan) is one amongst the three prime dwarf cattle in India, the other two being Malnad Gidda and Vechur breed of cattle. Kasaragod dwarf is mostly found in Kasargod, the northern-most district of Kerala, flanked by a vast coastal area in the West, plains in the South and hilly tracts towards the North. The breed is also found in Mangalore, Coorg and some other parts of Karnataka. Some centuries ago, this breed of cattle was known as Sahya Pashu (Sahyadri Hill Cows) and was also found in Kannur and other parts of Kerala.
Kasaragod Dwarf is small-sized, friendly and understanding, and is well adapted to the hot and humid climate of Kerala. It possesses high heat tolerance and disease resistance, and can survive on kitchen scraps and jungle forage. This breed is also less susceptible to mastitis, a common udder infection.
Kasaragod Dwarf breed is in much demand due to the popularity of zero-budget farming. Those who know this breed are confident that conservation of these cattle could actually help the agrarian communities to deal with their problem of sustainable progress, and could also play a vital role in the growth and development of rural areas.
This breed has not been included in the list of India’s 41 native cattle breeds that have been documented by the National Bureau for Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) Karnal, Haryana though moves have already begun to get this breed included in the list of native cattle breed of Kerala.
- The cattle are diminutive yet well-proportioned. .
- They are usually dark-skinned, with a uniform coat of black or varied shades of chocolate, brown, or white. Spotted ones are also seen.
- The muzzle colour is black for majority of the cattle.
- The eyelids, tail switch, hoofs, and horns are mostly black.
- The horns are mostly short or medium sized, curved upward and outward with variations is the horn length and shape.
- The forehead is straight.
- The ears are medium in length with horizontal orientation.
- The udder is bowl shaped and small.
- The teat colour is mostly pink though black teats are seen in black cows.
- The tail is long and almost touching the ground. The tail switch is mostly black in colour, though brown and white colours are also noticed.
- Height averages at 107.3 cms. for males and 95.83 cms. for females.
- Body length averages at 134 cms. for males and 124 cms. for females.
- Body weight averages at 194.3 kgs. for males and 147.7 kgs for females.
- Average chest girth is 133.1 cms. for males and 124.4 cms. for females.
- The calving interval varies from 15 to 18 months.
- It requires about 2 kgs of feed per day while its average milk yield is aroung 1 litre per day. The calves weigh only 10.5 kg at birth.
The Kasargod Dwarf Conservation Society was established in 2010 with objective of improving Kasargod dwarf breed. Currently more than 200 breeders and organic farmers are associated with this initiative. Organic farmers in north Kerala are determined to conserve and popularise this dimunitive breed of cattle. A positive development is that Bela Cattle Farm in Badiadukka panchayat in Kerala is now being developed as a research centre under the Central Veterinary University to study, research and popularise this rare breed of Kasaragod Dwarf.
Surabhivana continues to support the conservation and development of our native Indian breeds of cattle.