Motu, are dwarf cattle predominantly found in Motu, Kalimela, Podia and Malkangiri areas of the Malkangiri district in Orissa. Their breeding tract is situated in the southern part of Malkangiri district and also in the adjoining areas of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh where the soil is of the sandy and clay type.
The Koya tribals of Orissa are responsible for developing this breed that also goes by the name ‘Deshi’. Though the breed is small in size, these strongly built cattle are used for draught purpose in hilly and undulated terrains. The breed has excellent drought and heat tolerance and its utility areas are draught, milk and manure. Among the Koya tribes, the cow dung is considered as an important product obtained from the rearing of these cattle.
- The Motu cattle are small in size yet exceptionally strong.
- They are reddish brown and at times grey in colour. Some are white in colour.
- The cattle of this breed are mostly polled (without horns) but when horns are present, these are black in colour and emerge upward, ending with rounded tip.
- The forehead is straight and proportionate; the muzzle and hooves are black.
- The eyes have black eyelids; the ears are medium in size.
- The sheath flap and naval flap are small; the hump and dewlap are medium.
- The udder is bowl-shaped and small; the teat is cylindrical with rounded tip.
- Average height of the male is 103 cms, and that of the female is 99 cms.
- Average body length of the male is 108 cms, and that of the female 105 cms.
- Body weight of the male averages at 172 kgs, and that of the female 138 kgs.
- Average chest girth of a male is 128 cms and that of the female is 116 cms.
- It has an inter-calving period of 420 to 430 days.
- Fat percentage in the milk is about 5%.
- The average lactation length is about 5 to 6 months.
Due to the existential threats on account of cross-breeding and adoption of foreign varieties, the Orissa State Government has undertaken the task of identifying and conserving the local species, especially the Motu breed. Conservation and up-gradation through natural process is underway. The breed is managed under Extensive Management System and its feeding is done through grazing. No feed-supplementation is given to the Motu cows during pregnancy or calving.
Our Surabhivana continues with its movement of venerating and conserving our native Indian breed of cattle.