Sahiwal Cow Characteristics

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Sahiwal cow is considered to be one of the best milch cattle breeds of ‘Zebu cattle’. The Sahiwal cow breed is originated from the Sahiwal region, in Punjab, Pakistan. Sahiwal cattle are known with multiple names as “Lambi Bar”, “Lola”, “Montgomery”, “Multani” and “Teli”. Sahiwal is a very good milk producer, capable of producing an average of 8 kg – 10 kg of milk per day,  a fat content of approximately 4.5 %.

Sahiwal is also popular due to its ability to produce high-quality milk with high butterfat content. With that being said, the Sahiwal can also be used for commercial meat production, usually in ranches.

Characteristics of the Sahiwal cow

  1. The Sahiwal’s color ranges from Brownish Red to Grayish Red, with varying amounts of white on the neck, and the underline.
  2.  In males, the color darkens towards the head, neck, legs, and tail.
  3.  The breed is also known for drooping ears.
  4. The tail ends with a black switch.
  5.  The hump is massive, but in the female it is nominal.
  6. The Sahiwal cattle also have larger teat compare to other Zebu breeds, hence milking is easier.
  7. Mature weight of the Sahiwal cows averages at 425 kg and that of bulls 500 kg.
  8. Sahiwal cow milk production per day is 8 kg to 10 kg
  9. Sahiwal cow milk yield average- 2325 kg
  10. Sahiwal cow milk yield range- 1600 kg to 2750 kg within an average lactation period of 10 months. 
  11. Age at first calving is between 32 to 36 months.
  12. The calving interval is 15 months.

Advantages of the Sahiwal cow

  1. Sahiwal cow is stick-resistant, heat-tolerant and noted for its high resistance to parasites, both internal and external.
  2. Cows average 2270 kg of milk during a lactation while suckling a calf and much higher milk yields have been recorded.
  3. Sahiwal cows are generally docile and lethargic, making them more useful for slow work.
  4. They are noted for their hardiness under unfavorable climatic conditions.
  5. Sahiwals demonstrate the ability to sire small, fast-growing calves.
  6. High milk yields compared to all Zebu breeds.
  7. Milk from breeds of cows i.e., the Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire and British Shorthorn are generally high in A1 beta-casein. Milk of Sahiwal contains A2 beta-casein considered healthier than A1 milk.
  8. Sahiwal cows are tick and parasite resistant.
  9. Milk of Sahiwal has several health benefits, and to be easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant.
  10. Heat tolerant
  11. Ease of calving
  12. Longevity, reproducing for up to 20 years
  13. They are drought resistant.
  14. Bloat tolerant cow breed.
  15. Good temperament, any new farmer can raise a small Sahiwal farm.
  16. Lean meat with even fat cover
  17. Sahiwal cow price fetch a huge amount, as the demand for local cows are increasing in India
  18. Sahiwal’s milk has 3 types of protein – alpha, Beta and Globin. Beta protein has A1 and A2 allele.
  19. Only Sahiwal breed contained the allele A2 which contained proline instead of histidine protein found in the milk of other breeds. Due to the presence of this additional allele Sahiwal’s milk acts as a boon to humanity which is helpful in curing several diseases like cholesterol, diabetes and heart problems. And this is why Sahiwal is considered an important cow breed.
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Information of Sahiwal cow

Breed Name Sahiwal
Other NameLambi Bar, Lola, Montgomery, Multani and Teli
Country/Place of OriginIndia (now Pakistan)
Breed PurposeFarm work and milk(dairy)
Breed SizeAbove Medium
Weight
Male
590 kg
Female340 kg
Milk Yield8 kgs to 10 kgs 
Skin colorBrownish Red to Grayish Red
Climate ToleranceAny climate

History of Sahiwal cow

The Sahiwal cattle were originally from the dry Punjab area which lies along the Indian-Pakistan border. Back in the olden days, they were kept in large herds by professional herdsmen, then known as “Junglies“. However, with the introduction of irrigation systems,  the Sahiwal cattle were kept in smaller numbers by the farmers in the region where they used them as drought and dairy animals. In modern times, the Sahiwal cattle are considered one of the top dairy breeds in India and Pakistan mainly due to the high milk production as well as its resistance to tick-borne diseases.

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Distribution of Sahiwal cow

Due to many unique traits of the Sahiwal, they are exported to many other countries. They arrived in Australia via New Guinea in the early 1950s.

They were initially selected as a dual-purpose breed in Australia, however, today they are mainly used for beef production, as crossing high-grade Sahiwal sires with European breeds produced a carcass of lean quality with desirable fat cover.

The Sahiwals played an important role in adaptability in countries such as Kenya, Jamaica, Nigeria and several ecological zones of Africa where Sahiwals have been crossed with exotic Bos taurus breeds that have a high response capability of milk and beef production but lack the adaptability to local conditions.

Today in Kenya, the Sahiwal cattle are descendants of around 60 bulls and 12 cows imported between 1939 and 1963.

 The Sahiwal breed also is an exception in transmitted effects for milk production among Bos indicus breeds. Kenya is the main country in Africa with major resources of Bos indicus Sahiwal cattle and serves as an important source of stock and semen for the continent.

Feeding

The Sahiwals thrives on natural pastures. This includes Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum), star grass (Cynodon plectostachyum) as well as raised fodder grasses like Boma Rhodes (Chloris gayana), Foxtail grass (Cenchrus Ciliaris) and Fodder Sorghum, among others.

It is highly recommended that the cows are grazed rotationally in paddocks as this gives the grasses time to regrow.

Water and minerals lick are also important to the Sahiwal cattle. The Sahiwal kept for milk production can be supplemented with a protein legume and concentrate on more milk production.

Health Management

Ticks are a major threat to the Sahiwals in pasture areas. In order to prevent tick-borne diseases, it is encouraged to dip or spray the cows with acaricide once a week.

As for internal parasites, deworm animals regularly approximately once every three months or whenever necessary depending on the hellminth fecal egg count.

In addition, routine vaccinations against diseases like Foot and Mouth, Anthrax, Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), and other epizoonotic diseases should be done.

8 thoughts on “Sahiwal Cow Characteristics”

  1. The average milk production per day is maintained between 3500-4000 kg and the annual milk production varies between 13 and 14 lakh kg. All the efforts are made to maintain the productivity of all the categories of animals at high level.

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  2. How many liters of milk per day does a cow produce? … The Average lactation yield of Sahiwal cows is 2325 KG, … ( production ) does it take to produce cow milk ?

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  3. Am in Kenya,i have admired my neighbours well up due to Sahiwal raring since 1992 .Whether its rainy or drought season they always milk their cows.Their pockets are always warm.I would like to start my project to very soon.I would like to start with two cows and as time goes want upto 20 cows for milking.Am pleased with this project,i live in the rural with vast land but no awareness.Thanku,can i book for two for a start please?

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