Mini Cow Breeds
What are Mini cow breeds?
These cow breeds are dwarf cows with a height ranging from 36″ – 48″ at the age of 3 years. This is generally one-half to one-third the height of normal cattle of the same age. Miniature cattle breeds are found in different parts of the world. These cattle gaining popularity in the farming sector during recent years for several reasons.
Why Mini cow breeds?
The human society is at a transition state now with respect to the choices for food and lifestyle throughout the world, after reaching a near saturation level towards high-tech options. Accordingly, people are turning more towards traditional lifestyle and resources for food, accommodation, recreation and so on. Cattle farming also has comeback as homestead, hobby farming etc. The mini cow breeds find place in such farms, as the space requirement is minimum and maintenance of these cattle is practically easy and economically cheap. Apart from these, small-scale cattle breeders also prefer the miniature cattle breeds because an average herd of mini cow breeds can be maintained in small land holdings of about 2 to 3 acres.
These cow breeds are 25-30% more feed efficient than the regular large cow breeds. This makes small and marginal dairy farms to opt for these cows, as the production cost would be low. According to reports, many of the small farm owners are quite happy with this cow breeds for milk production in India as the milk of original desi breeds is in high demand among the urban households. These people prefer desi cow milk over the milk of hybrid cows for feeding the children. Milk of the local pure breed cows are being sold at premium price and hence the low milk yield is getting compensated to a considerable extent.
Mini cow breeds of India
India has indigenous mini cow breeds spread over Kerala and Karnataka states. The Vechur and Kasaragod breed from Kerala and the Malnad gidda breed of Karnataka, share several similarities in their features. A variant of Malnad gidda breed called Kapila is another mini cattle breed from Karnataka. All these breeds are miniature in size and very efficient in pasture grazing. They are less susceptible to a common udder infection, mastitis which affects the dairy farms in the tropics seriously. These cattle are highly tolerant to heat, insect bites and pathogens. Probably the diverse plants on which they feed provide extra immunity to these cattle. The heat tolerance of the indigenous mini cow breeds has made them more preferred in small dairy farms as they adapt and perform better than the large cow breeds in the rising temperature due to global warming.
Mini cow breeds for farming
This cow breeds are used in dairy farming throughout the world. Dexter of Ireland and Belted Galloway from Scotland are examples of original mini cow breeds from other countries. Several hybrid miniature breeds of cattle have been generated by different countries for farming purpose. Miniature zebu, Jersey mini cow, Miniature Panda cow, Miniature Hereford, Lowline Angus, Miniature Highland, Miniature Holstein, etc. are some of the hybrid mini cow breeds being used for farming in different countries.
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