Kenkatha or Kenwariya breed hails from the provinces of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh, along the banks of the river Ken and the Vindhya ranges in Madhya Pradesh. This breed is named after the river Ken. Its breeding tract lies along the banks of river Ken in Panna, Chhatarpur and Tikamgarh districts of Madhya Pradesh and in the Lalitpur, Hamirpur and Banda districts of Uttar Pradesh.
This is a breed which is known for its ability to survive in rough environments. Due to the hilly nature of the region and poor feed resources, only animals that can cover long distances and have strong feet can thrive in this region. The bullocks are small but sturdy and are good for cultivation in rocky areas. They are also popular for light draught on road. Nevertheless, the Kenkatha cow is seen to be good enough for meeting consumption requirements of small families.
The Kenkatha cattle are maintained under the extensive management system. Cows and the young stock are maintained only on grazing while bullocks are usually fed good quality straws. They are known for their ability to thrive on poor feed resources. Animals have to cover long distances in search of grazing pastures. Straws and husks from crops are utilised as cattle feed. Only few animals are maintained by each cultivator. Pasture is scanty and generally consists of coarse grasses of cow nutritive value.
- These animals are small but compactly built, with sturdy and powerful bodies.
- The complexions contain various shades of grey and black, and rarely, white, ranging from grey on the barrel to dark grey on the rest of the body.
- The head is short and broad and the forehead is dished.
- The ears are sharply pointed and do not droop.
- The horns emerge from the outer angles of the poll in forward direction and end in sharp points.
- The back is straight but the quarters are drooping.
- The limbs are short but powerful and the feet are hard.
- The hump is well developed.
- The sheath is somewhat pendulous and ends with a black tip.
- The dewlap is moderately heavy.
- The tail is of medium length with a black switch reaching below the hocks.
- Average body height at withers of a male is 127 cms and a female is 120 cms.
- Average body length of a male is 119 cms and of a female is 114 cms.
- The average chest girth of a male is 178 cms while that of a female is 168 cms.
- The average weight of a male is 350 kgs while that of a female is 300 kgs.
- The daily milk yield ranges from 1.0 to 3.0 kg. o to three litres a day.
- The average production of the cows is 500-600 kg of milk in a lactation of 6-8 months.
There has been unrestricted interbreeding of the Kenkatha with other non–descript cattle and as a result, the breed has been diluted and its population is waning rapidly. Immediate steps are required to be taken in order to conserve and improve this indigenous breed of cattle.
To make a start, a breed society needs to be formed, which should be trained and supported for the immense task of safeguarding and upgrading of this breed in order to make it economically sustainable in the present scenario of the country
Our Surabhivana Gaushala is ever active and vigilant towards the national movement of conserving our Indian breeds of cattle.