Cattle rearing in cities is not a very viable proposition due to confines of space. But, a group of youngsters here have turned it into a successful venture by rearing dwarf breeds of cows, a bull of Kasaragod Dwarf, Malnad Gidda and its cross breed bought from Kasaragod and Kannur districts.
Anuraj B of Peroorkada, who along with his friends bought to the city the heads of cattle, is surprised at their success in rearing the cattle in the urban milieu. The youngsters who bought the cows out of curiosity are now planning to form a trust to spread awareness and encourage similar cattle rearing in the city.
“We first saw these cows on a trip to Kasaragod. We were surprised by their size and made enquiries about the breed. We were told that as the cattle were of small size, it was possible to rear them in urban centres. That is how we decided to buy them,'' said Mr. Anuraj.
Need little fodder
With a height of less than 95 cm and almost equal length, these cows, which cost nearly Rs.7,000 for a fully grown one, look like an overgrown goat and can easily fit into the confines of an average urban household. They require very little fodder compared to breeds of normal size. Apparently, they do not require any extra cattle fodder and can survive on kitchen waste and hay, yielding up to 2.5 litres of milk a day.
They are also highly immune to diseases and have a lifespan of around 10 calving.
“When you consider its milk yield, these breeds may not be ideal for dairy farming. But the milk yield from one cow of this breed is enough for the daily requirement of an average urban family. So it is the guarantee of getting pure unadulterated milk and the pleasure of cattle rearing that comes with these breeds,'' said veterinarian Jacob Alexander.
He said the only perceptible difficulty would be in breeding these cattle as the scope of artificial insemination for dwarf breeds is less. Another interesting feature of these breeds is that their urine and dung have high medicinal value. The cattle urine is used for treating skin diseases in Ayurvedic medicine while the dung is nutritious manure for plants.
“When we visited houses in Kasaragod and Kannur districts to buy these cows, we found that its urine was collected and sold to Ayurvedic pharmacists at Rs.160 a litre. Farmers in these regions also buy the dung of these cows,'' Mr. Anuraj said.
The Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat has already initiated a scheme to encourage rearing of dwarf cattle breeds in rural households in the district. Mr. Anuraj and his friends are trying to prove that the same is possible in the city as well.
Keywords: cattle rearing