Malnad Gidda Breed Cattle (Bull/Cow)


Malnad Gidda cattle- Malenadu, Karnataka
Malnad Gidda cattle- Malenadu, Karnataka

The word gidda means dwarf and Malnad means a place receiving heavy rainfall.


Malnad Gidda Cattle Breed:

Breeding status: Conservation

Country: India, Karnataka

Home or breeding tract: Malnad Gidda cattle are small size animals and distributed and Maintained in Malnad/Malenadu area of Karnataka. The breeding tract of this breed also includes ChikmagalurDakshin Kannada, Hassan, Kodagu, Shimoga, Uttar Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka.

Body: Malnad Gidda is one of the Indian dwarf breeds, hence the size of the cattle will be small when compared to other average Indian indigenous cattle. They are small with compact body frame and adult animals are around 90 centimetres tall.

Body colour: Colours found in these animals (black, brown, red, fawn and white, sometimes the mixture of any of these) but black colour was predominant.

Markings over body: light shades of fawn on thigh and shoulder region.

Head: Dark

Face: Narrow

Ears: Small, pointed

Neck: Dark

Dewlap: Thick

Shoulder hump: small and dark

Penis sheath flap: Very small

Horns: Horns are generally small and black in colour..

Production traits: it is zero input system where animals sustain solely on grazing. Elite cows give 3-5 kg of milk per day and the average lactation yield is around 220 Kg.

Ability as draught purpose: They play a major role in the rural economy of this region by providing milk, manure and draught purpose.

Other Names: It is also called Malenadu Gidda, Gidda, Uradana and Varshagandhi..

Malnad Gidda cattle are small size animals and distributed in Malnad area of Karnataka. The population of the breed is about few lakh in Karnataka but is showing a declining trend. This breed has not been included in the list of recognised cattle breeds of India due to lack of information about the breed. A survey was undertaken in the 23 villages of 3 taluks of Shimoga district and 4 talukas of Chikmagalur district of Karnataka state. Data were collected for management, phenotypic characteristics, morphometric traits, production and reproductive performance on 398 animals belonging to 41 farmers. There were 5 coat colours found in these animals (black, brown, red, fawn and white, the sometimes mixture of any 2) but black colour was predominant. Average body length, height at withers and chest girth were 87.04±O.65, 90.29±0.46, and l18.36±O.67 cm for cows and 86.53±1.93, 91±1.47 and 118.47±3.93 cm for adult males, respectively, indicated the small size of Malnad Gidda breed among all the known cattle breeds of India. The herd size varied from 3 to 35 animals. The average daily milk yield of elite cows was obtained as 2.11 kg. The age at first service in males, age at first calving of cows, service period, dry period and calving interval, were 38.06±1.24 months, 45.41±1.22 months, 8.38±1.03 months, 7.17±O.53 months and 17.02±O.68 months, respectively. Animals of this breed are playing a significant role in the rural livelihood of Malnad area of Karnataka in terms of drought, milk and manure. There is a need to take up systematic genetic improvement programme and sustainable measures for the conservation of the population of this breed.

Malnad Gidda cattle breed is a native of Western Ghats in Karnataka. The word gidda means dwarf and Malnad means a place receiving heavy rainfall.

At present this cattle breed is distributed predominately in Malnad areas of Shimoga, Hassan, Chikmagalur and adjacent coastal districts of Mangalore, Udupi, North Kanara and parts of Kodagu districts of Karnataka.

Small size

The animals are small in size with a compact body frame weighing 80-120 kgs. Malnad breed is short in height and smaller compared to Vechur and Kasaragod cattle of Kerala and Punganur cattle breed of Andhra Pradesh.

The animals are active and resistant to major diseases such as foot and mouth disease which affects cattle.



Well adapted

They are well adapted to the Western Ghats and have become an inseparable part of the farming community, providing milk, manure and draft power, according to Prof. M.G. Govindaiah, Special Officer, Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fishery Sciences University (KVAFSU), Hebbal, Bangalore.

The skin colour in a majority of the animals is black with light shades of fawn on the thigh and shoulder regions. Brown coloured animals with light fawn shades are also seen.

The hooves, eyelids, tail switch (hair at the end of the tail), and horn are black in colour. A small hump is seen in males, while females have a bowl shaped udder. The teats are funnel in shape being broader at the base, narrowing downwards and ending with pointed tips.

The tail is long and the tail switch almost touches the ground. This breed yields 0.5 to 4 litres of milk per day with a fat content of 5.5 to 8 per cent. The animals remain in milk for about 250 days in a year. The average lifespan of an adult animal is 9-12 years.

Naturally robust

No special care is needed to rear these animals. During night time the animals can be housed in roughly built sheds or tied under trees.

If the animals are housed in a shed it is usual practice to spread green leaves and/or twigs on the floor every day as bedding material for the animals. The dung and urine are cleared in once a month or two and applied to the fields which form good quality compost manure.

Animals are mostly sent for grazing. They are also fed with small quantities of paddy straw, and green grass depending on their availability.

Traditional feed

Some farmers feed a traditional concentrate mixture called Maddi (horse-gram chunni, broken rice, oil-cake and rice flour) at the time of milking of the animals.

“The animals are generally bred by natural service and artificial insemination (AI) is not prevalent for this breed,” Prof Govindaiah said.

Regarding the cost of the animal, he said, a female animal of 2-3 years of age costs Rs.2,000-3,000 and a male animal is priced Rs.3,000-5,000.

At present, there is an urgent need to conserve this breed in view of its disease resistance and adaptability to hot and humid conditions of Malnad region.

Frequent mating with other breeds to increase milk production has led to genetic dilution and erosion of this breed.




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