The Sahiwal cow is a Zebu breed and has its origin in the Punjab region which is closer to the Pakistan-India border. These cows were once reared by large groups of herdsmen known as ‘Junglies’. That region was dry and they were used as dairy animals by the farmers. With the arrival of a proper water system to the area, these cows could be kept in fewer numbers.
This breed was previously found in Montgomery district of Pakistan. This breed is medium sized, reddish-brown coloured, shorter legs, loose skin, wide head, small and bulky horns, heavy fringe just under the neck, and a big udder. Sahiwal cow breed is the highest milk giving breed in India. Pure Sahiwal cows can be easily bought from the Fazilka and Abohar towns in Punjab. Bulls are hefty and lethargic and they are good for slow working. Other names for this breed are “Lola”, “Montgomery”, “Multani”, and “Lambi bar”. It is recorded that they give around 1800 liters of milk in one lactation phase. The milk is healthy and nutritious because it contains only 5% fat. In India and Pakistan, Sahiwal cows are the best choice for dairy breeding nowadays. They are being exported to other countries like Africa, Australia and Caribbean because of their high heat tolerance and high milk producing qualities.
Characteristics of Sahiwal Cow
- They are reddish-brown in color with occasional white spots around the neck. Males have darker colors around the head, tails and legs.
- They are noted for exceptional resistance against parasites whether internal or external.
- They are tick-resistant.
- They are docile and friendly. Being lethargic animals, they are beneficial for slow work.
- Sahiwal cows are known for their remarkable quality of being the highest milk giving breed.
- They are high heat tolerant animals.
- They can reproduce for more than 20 years. Whereas their contemporaries reproduce only 4-5 times in their lifespan.
- Their meat is lean with fat evenly distributed.
Thus, these qualities make them favorable for their ability to withstand harsh climatic circumstances.
Cost of Sahiwal cows counts on their age, health, and milk producing capacity. Average price of these cows fall in between Rs. 60k to Rs. 75k.
Milk yield in one lactation period
As said earlier, Sahiwal breed is best known for its milk producing quality. It is the highest milk producing species of the ‘Zebu breed’, and is considered to be the most promising breed. Other breeds that are very similar to Sahiwal cows are Red Sindhi and Butana follow it in the milk production. Average milk production of cows is about 2270kg while feeding the calves. It is recorded that in India, Sahiwal cows produce about 1400-2270 kg of milk during the time period of 265-300 days. The calves enjoy their mother’s milk and yet it yields about 20-25 liters of milk per day. All these qualities make this breed a farmer’s friend.
Milk content of Sahiwal cow
Its milk contains 3 types of proteins namely Alpha, Beta, and Globin protein. It contains an extremely important component in its milk known as Conjugated LinoLeic Acid (CLA). This component has the potential of lowering bad cholesterol. The fat content of this milk is ideali.e 4.5-5.0% , compared to other breeds that have around 3.0-3.5% fat in their milk. It has A2 allele in its milk which contains proline protein instead of histidine.
Its milk is miraculous and a gift from god. It is proven to be beneficial in the treatment of several diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and cholesterol. Thus, it is good for improving overall health.
Comparison with other breeds (Gir cow, Red Sindhi and Butana)
Sahiwal cows are small as compared to other breeds like Gir cows. The size of Gir cow is approximately double than the sahiwal cow. The smaller size of sahiwal cows make it more suitable for producing more milk.
The sahiwal cow is the best milk producer breed as compared to other breeds such as Red Sindhi and Butana. Its lactation yield is about 25 liters /day when taking great care of it. Whereas other cows like Gir cows produce about 15-20 liters of milk per day. It stays reproductive throughout their life while other breeds produce calves 3-4 times during their life-span. They are farmers’ best choice because of their hardiness and ability to withstand harsh temperatures. Other imported breeds require moderate temperature for survival.
Advantages Sahiwal Cow:
Some of the prominent advantages of Sahiwal cow are following:
- High milk production.
- Nutritious milk with low fat content (5%).
- Milk production can be increased by increasing care, feeding and management of the cow.
- It produces valuable calves suitable for slow work.
- Ideal for less grazing.
Disadvantages Sahiwal Cow:
- It requires extreme care.
- Vulnerable to milk fever and other diseases.
- It has a high feed requirement (90-110 kg of fodder per day).
- Large amount of freshwater is required for this breed (minimum 65 liters of water per day).
Feeding of Sahiwal cow
Essential nutrients required for proteins, minerals, and vitamins.
- Cereals: Sahiwal cow feeds on grains like Corn, Barley, Jowar, Bajra, Gram, Wheat, Oat, Bran, Rice polish, Corn husk, Beer dry grains, Peanut skin, Cottonseed skin, Sesame skin, Linseed skin, Crushed guar, Tapioca, Triticale etc.
- Forage: Alfalfa (first, second, third and fourth crop), garlic (average), rye grass (long and short), guara, senji, millet (small), maize (small), millet, napier millet, sudan grass, etc.
- Dry fodder (hay): Alfalfa grass, garlic grass, straw, oat grass, sugarcane fire, corn pickle, oat pickle etc.
- Other Feeding: Corn / Wheat / Rice Drops, Rice Polish, Bran, Soybean / Peanut Skin, Scales / Mustard Skin without Cotton Seed Peel, Oil Free Polished Rice, Metals and Salt Mixture etc.
In a nutshell, Sahiwal cow is a lethargic and docile animal known for its remarkable milk producing trait. Its milk is extremely nutritious and beneficial for human health. The males of this breed are used for slow working and farmers prioritize them for their friendly nature and ability to withstand high temperature, drought, and grazing conditions.
How to identify pure Sahiwal cows?
The pure Sahiwal cow is brownish red or grayish red in color. The tail, head, and legs are darker in males than the rest of the body. However, you can also see occasional white spots near the neck. They have shorter and heavier horns.
Is Sahiwal cow milk nutritious?
Sahiwal milk is nutritious as it contains a high content of proteins. It has 5% fat content which makes it extremely beneficial for controlling the level of bad cholesterol. Thus, it helps improve health conditions.
Is Sahiwal cow a desi cow?
The Sahiwal is the greatest ‘desi’ milker breed, although it may also be utilized for other things. This species originated in Pakistan’s Sahiwal District, in the Punjab area, near the India-Pakistan border.