Sahiwal Cattle: Characteristics, Specialties & Raising Tips

The Sahiwal cattle is a breed of zebu cow. It is named after an area in the Punjab region (which is divided between Pakistan and India), where the cattle is found.

It is considered as a heat-tolerant cattle breed. And it can perform well in it’s native area. It is known by some other names such as Mint Kumre, Lambi Bar, Lola, Montgomery, Multani and Teli.

The breed was originated in the dry Punjab region which lies along central Punjab. Once these animals were kept in large herds by professional herdsmen called ‘Charwahas’.

They began to be kept in smaller numbers by the farmers of the region, with the introduction of irrigation system to the region. And the farmers used them as draught and dairy animal.

Today, the Sahiwal cattle is one of the best dairy cattle breeds in India and Pakistan. The cows are calm when milking.

The breed is good for raising in the hot South Asian countries, due to it’s heat tolerance and high milk production. And the breed has been exported to many other Asian countries as well as Africa and the Caribbean.

Table of Contents

History and Origin

The Sahiwal is an ancient cattle breed with long history. The breed derives it’s name from the region where it was originally developed, Sahiwal, which is now part of Pakistan. The breed’s roots can be traced back to the district of Montgomery, now known as Sahiwal, in the Punjab region of undivided India.

It was during the early 20th century that the Sahiwal breed began to take shape through careful selection and breeding practices. And now the breed is available in many parts throughout India, and it’s popularity is increasing gradually.

The Sahiwal cow is a result of crossbreeding between the indigenous cattle of the region and the Red Sindhi and Dajal breeds. The goal was to develop a breed that could thrive in the harsh climatic conditions of the Indian subcontinent while producing ample milk and maintaining good overall health.

The breeding efforts paid off, and the Sahiwal breed emerged as a robust and productive cattle breed, well-suited to the Indian agricultural landscape. Today, many health concious people are shifting from A1 to A2 milk. And the Sahiwal cows are among the highest milk productive cattle breed in India.

Specialties of Sahiwal Cattle

Sahiwal cattle is a prominent indigenous breed of zebu cattle. They have earned a distinguished reputation in the world of livestock farming.

They are well known for their remarkable specialties, including high milk production, resilience in adverse conditions, and adaptability. Here we are trying to list the specialties of these beautiful animals.

1. Historical Significance

The Sahiwal cow’s origins can be traced back to the Montgomery district, now known as Sahiwal, in the Punjab region of undivided India. The breed was developed through meticulous crossbreeding between indigenous cattle and the Red Sindhi and Dajal breeds during the early 20th century.

The primary objective was to create a breed that could thrive in the challenging Indian subcontinent climate while delivering significant milk yields and maintaining good overall health.

2. Religious Significance

Sahiwal and some other indegenous cattle breeds have very important role in Hinduism. Lord Sri Krishna, according to Hindu mythology and religious texts like the Bhagavad Gita, is often associated with cows and is referred to as “Gopala” or “Govinda,” which means the protector of cows.

While there is no specific breed of cattle mentioned in these texts, it is generally believed that Lord Krishna and his people raised and revered indigenous Indian cattle breeds, which could have included various breeds like the native Indian humped cattle or zebu cattle.

In India, native cattle breeds such as Gir, Sahiwal, Red Sindhi, and Tharparkar are historically significant and have been raised for milk, and agricultural purposes for thousands of years. These breeds would have been similar to the cattle associated with Lord Krishna in ancient India.

3. Exceptional Milk Production

One of the most celebrated specialties of Sahiwal cattle is their exceptional milk-producing capabilities. Sahiwal cows are well known for their ability to consistently yield a high volume of milk with rich butterfat content.

On average, Sahiwal cows produce between 8 to 12 liters of milk per day. However, some exceptional individuals have been known to produce even higher quantities. And the milk from these cows is prized for it’s high butterfat content, making it ideal for producing ghee (clarified butter) and other dairy products.

Sahiwal cows are known for their steady and reliable milk production, which contributes to their economic value for dairy farming. They generally produce milk for longer time, and don’t stop producing milk all on a sudden. Average lactation period of these cows is around 305 days.

4. Resilience and Adaptability

Sahiwal cattle have evolved over generations to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions. Their resilience and adaptability make them an excellent choice for farmers facing diverse challenges.

These animals can thrive in a variety of climates, from hot and humid to arid and semi-arid regions. Their ability to maintain good health and productivity under different weather conditions is a distinct advantage.

They exhibit natural resistance to common cattle diseases, reducing the need for extensive veterinary care and medication.

They are skilled foragers and can efficiently utilize available pasture and forage resources, making them well-suited to extensive grazing systems.

With proper care, Sahiwal cattle can have a productive lifespan of 12 to 15 years or more, contributing consistently to milk production and farm income.

5. Genetic Potential for Improvement

Sahiwal cattle offer excellent opportunities for genetic improvement through selective breeding. By emphasizing specific traits, breeders can enhance the breed’s specialties even further. Here are some strategies for genetic improvement:

Selective Breeding: By choosing bulls and cows with desirable traits, such as high milk yield or disease resistance, farmers can selectively breed animals that pass on these characteristics to their offspring.

Artificial Insemination (AI): AI allows farmers to access genetic material from high-quality bulls, further improving the genetic potential of the herd.

Crossbreeding: Introducing genetics from other breeds can enhance certain traits without compromising the core qualities of Sahiwal cattle. This approach can lead to valuable hybrid vigor.

6. Contribution to Sustainable Farming

Sahiwal cattle are instrumental in sustainable farming practices. Their ability to graze efficiently reduces the environmental impact of cattle farming by minimizing overgrazing and soil erosion.

Sahiwal cattle’s natural disease resistance reduces the need for antibiotics and medical treatments, lowering input costs and minimizing the use of chemicals in agriculture.

High milk and meat production by Sahiwal cattle contribute to food security by providing a reliable source of dairy and protein for communities.

7. Distinctive Physical Traits

These cattle have distinctive physical traits.

Coloration: The most prominent feature of Sahiwal cows is their reddish-brown to reddish-white coat. This distinct coloration, with white markings on the face, ears, and legs, makes them easily identifiable. The reddish hue, often described as “cherry red,” adds to their aesthetic appeal.

Size and Structure: Sahiwal cows are medium to large-sized animals with well-proportioned bodies. They boast a deep, broad chest, strong legs, and a well-rounded rump. Covered in short, fine hair, they exhibit a sleek and compact appearance.

Horns: Sahiwal cows typically have medium-sized, slightly curved horns. These horns serve as vital tools for grazing, digging, and defending against predators.

Head and Ears: Their heads are well-defined with a broad forehead and expressive, large eyes. The moderately sized ears droop slightly forward, aiding in heat dissipation.

Prominent Milk Veins: One of the distinctive physical features of Sahiwal cows is their prominent milk veins. These are visible on the udder and serve as indicators of their exceptional milk-producing capacity.

8. Milk Production Prowess

One of the Sahiwal cow’s most celebrated specialties is its remarkable milk production ability. These cows are prolific milk producers, with an average daily milk yield ranging from 8 to 12 liters. In certain exceptional cases, Sahiwal cows have even exceeded these figures.

The milk produced by Sahiwal cows is of exceptional quality, characterized by high butterfat content and protein concentration. This makes it highly sought after for the production of premium dairy products such as ghee, butter, and yogurt. The creamy texture and rich flavor of Sahiwal cow milk contribute to its popularity among consumers.

9. Disease Resistance

Sahiwal cows are renowned for their resilience and disease resistance, making them a preferred choice for cattle farmers. They exhibit a high level of adaptability to various climatic conditions, including hot and humid environments as well as cold winters.

This adaptability is crucial, given the diverse challenges faced by Indian farmers. Their robust immune systems help them withstand common cattle diseases, including tick-borne illnesses.

This resistance reduces the need for extensive veterinary care and medications, thereby cutting down on healthcare costs for cattle owners.

10. Longevity

Another distinctive trait of Sahiwal cows is their longevity. With proper care and management, these cows can remain productive for 12 to 15 years or even longer. This extended period of productivity ensures a consistent source of milk and other benefits for farmers over the years, contributing to their economic stability.

11. Draught Power

Beyond their role as milk producers, Sahiwal cows are highly valued for their draught power. Their strong build and physical strength make them well-suited for plowing fields and other agricultural tasks. In regions where mechanized farming is not prevalent, Sahiwal cows continue to play a pivotal role in traditional farming practices.

12. Uses

The Sahiwal cattle are dual-purpose animals. They are good and used for both dairy and draft purposes. But in India, the breed is raised mainly for milk production purpose.

Sahiwal Cattle Characteristics

The Sahiwal cattle are medium in size and they are very beautiful. Their common body coloration is brownish red to greyish red. Both bulls and cows generally have horns.

As a medium sized breed, average body weight of the mature bulls is between 400 and 500 kg. And average body weight of the mature cows is between 700 and 800 kg.

1. Physical Characteristics

They have a distinct appearance characterized by their reddish-brown coat with white markings on the face, limbs, and tail. Sahiwal cattle belong to the Bos indicus species, also known as zebu cattle, which are known for their hump, droopy ears, and adaptability to diverse climates.

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Size and Body Structure

Sahiwal cows are medium to large-sized animals with well-built bodies. They have a sleek and compact appearance, characterized by a deep, broad chest, strong legs, and a well-rounded rump. The body is covered with short, fine hair, which provides some insulation against heat and cold.

Coloration

The most prominent physical characteristic of the Sahiwal cow is its reddish-brown to reddish-white coat. These coloration along with their body appearance has made these animals even more beautiful.

Some individuals may exhibit variations in color, but the typical Sahiwal cow is primarily reddish-brown with white markings on the face, ears, and legs. These distinctive color patterns make them easily recognizable.

Horns

Sahiwal cows usually have medium-sized horns that curve slightly upward and outward. These horns are an essential part of their physical defense mechanisms and can be used for grazing and digging.

Head and Ears

They have a well-proportioned head with a broad forehead and large, expressive eyes. Their ears are moderately sized and droop slightly forward, which helps in heat dissipation.

Milk Veins

One of the distinguishing features of the Sahiwal cow is its prominent milk veins. These are visible on the udder and serve as an indicator of their exceptional milk-producing capacity.

2. Temperament and Behavior

Sahiwal cows are known for their docile and gentle temperament. They are easy to handle and work with, making them a preferred choice for farmers and dairy enthusiasts. Their calm nature makes them well-suited for both small-scale and large-scale cattle farming operations.

These cows are highly adaptable to different climatic conditions, which is a crucial trait given the diverse environmental challenges faced by Indian farmers. They can endure hot and humid conditions as well as cold winters with relative ease.

3. Milk Production

One of the primary reasons for the popularity of Sahiwal cows is their remarkable milk-producing ability. They are prolific milk producers, with an average daily milk yield ranging from 8 to 12 liters. In some exceptional cases, Sahiwal cows have been known to produce even higher quantities of milk.

The milk produced by Sahiwal cows is of excellent quality, with a high butterfat content and protein concentration. This makes it highly desirable for dairy products like ghee, butter, and yogurt. The creamy texture and rich flavor of Sahiwal cow milk have made it a favorite among consumers.

4. Disease Resistance

Sahiwal cows are renowned for their resistance to various diseases, including tick-borne diseases and heat stress. Their ability to thrive in challenging environmental conditions and maintain good health is a significant advantage for farmers. This resilience reduces the need for extensive veterinary care and medications, resulting in cost savings for cattle owners.

5. Longevity

Another noteworthy characteristic of Sahiwal cows is their longevity. With proper care and management, these cows can have a productive life span of 12 to 15 years or even longer. This extended period of productivity ensures a consistent source of milk and other benefits for farmers over the years.

6. Draught Power

In addition to being excellent milk producers, Sahiwal cows are also valued for their draught power. Their sturdy build and strength make them suitable for plowing fields and other agricultural tasks. Farmers in regions where mechanized farming is not prevalent still rely on Sahiwal cows to provide the necessary draft power for traditional farming practices.

Housing

Making a good, secure and comfortable housing system for your cattle is very important. Adequate housing not only ensures the well-being and comfort of these valuable animals but also contributes to their productivity. Here we are trying to list more information about housing or shed requirements of Sahiwal cattle.

1. Understand the Housing Needs

Before delving into the specifics of Sahiwal cattle housing, it’s essential to understand the unique needs of this breed.

Sahiwal cows are known for their adaptability to diverse climates, but they still benefit from a well-designed shelter that provides protection from extreme weather conditions, particularly in regions with harsh summers or cold winters.

2. Design Considerations

Designing the house or shed is also very important. Here are some key considerations for designing the house for your animal.

Orientation and Location: The orientation and location of the cattle housing play a crucial role in maintaining a comfortable environment for Sahiwal cows.

Ideally, the structure should be positioned to minimize exposure to prevailing winds, ensuring that the cattle are shielded from cold drafts in the winter and hot gusts in the summer.

Shade and Sunlight: Providing adequate shade is essential, especially in areas with scorching summers. Sahiwal cattle need protection from the direct sun to avoid heat stress. Natural light should be considered to create a well-lit and pleasant environment inside the shelter.

Size and Layout: The housing should be spacious enough to accommodate the entire herd comfortably. A layout that allows for individual stalls or sections for cows is advantageous, as it can aid in managing the herd and provide each animal with its own space.

Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is crucial for maintaining air quality and temperature control within the shelter. Properly placed windows, vents, and fans can help in this regard, ensuring a continuous flow of fresh air.

Insulation: Insulation is particularly important in regions with extreme temperatures. It helps in maintaining a moderate and comfortable temperature inside the shelter, protecting the cattle from both cold and heat.

Ventilation and Temperature Control: Proper ventilation is a key factor in Sahiwal cattle housing, as it directly impacts the comfort and health of the animals. Inadequate ventilation can lead to poor air quality, heat stress, and respiratory issues.

Natural Ventilation: A well-planned design can maximize natural ventilation. Position windows and vents strategically to allow prevailing winds to flow through the shelter. This helps in maintaining a comfortable temperature and reducing humidity.

Mechanical Ventilation: In areas with limited natural ventilation, mechanical systems such as exhaust fans or air circulation fans may be necessary. These systems help remove stale air and regulate temperature and humidity levels.

Cooling Systems: In regions with scorching summers, cooling systems like evaporative coolers or misting fans can be installed to prevent heat stress among Sahiwal cattle. These systems create a cooler and more comfortable environment.

Insulation: Proper insulation helps in maintaining a stable temperature inside the shelter. Insulated roofing materials can reduce heat absorption during hot weather and heat loss during cold winters.

3. Hygiene and Cleanliness

Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment inside the Sahiwal cattle housing is essential for the health and productivity of the herd.

Clean Regularly: Implement a routine cleaning schedule to remove manure, bedding, and any debris from the shelter. Cleanliness prevents the buildup of pathogens and parasites.

Provide comfortable bedding for the cattle: Options include straw, sawdust, or sand. Regularly replace soiled bedding to maintain a clean and dry environment. Ensure proper drainage to prevent stagnant water and mud, which can lead to hoof issues and diseases. Proper grading and drainage systems are crucial.

Consider having a separate quarantine area within the housing for new animals or those showing signs of illness. This helps prevent the spread of diseases within the herd.

4. Feeding and Watering Facilities

Sahiwal cattle housing should also include well-designed feeding and watering facilities to ensure the nutritional needs of the animals are met. Design feeding areas that are easily accessible to all cattle in the herd. Use troughs or feeders to minimize feed wastage and contamination.

Provide a constant supply of clean, fresh water. Automatic waterers are an efficient option for maintaining water quality and availability. Consider including a storage area for feed and bedding materials to keep them dry and protected from pests.

5. Disease Prevention and Biosecurity

Implementing biosecurity measures is crucial to prevent the introduction and spread of diseases within the Sahiwal cattle herd. Isolate new animals for a period and monitor them for signs of illness before introducing them to the main herd.

Install footbaths at the entrance of the cattle housing area to disinfect footwear and prevent the introduction of pathogens. Maintain accurate health records and implement a vaccination schedule as recommended by a veterinarian.

Implement pest control measures to minimize the presence of flies, ticks, and other pests that can transmit diseases.

Feeding

Feeding good and nutritious food to your animals is a critical aspect of Sahiwal cattle management that directly influences their health, milk production, and overall well-being. However, learn more about feeding your animals.

1. Understand Their Dietary Requirements

Before diving into the specifics of Sahiwal cattle feeding, it’s essential to understand their unique dietary requirements. Sahiwal cows are primarily dual-purpose animals, valued for both milk and meat production. Therefore, their diet must provide the necessary nutrients for these purposes while ensuring their health and longevity.

2. Basic Nutritional Needs

Sahiwal cattle have the following basic nutritional needs:

Energy: Energy is essential for maintaining body condition, milk production, and overall vitality.

Protein: Protein is crucial for muscle development, milk synthesis, and overall growth.

Fiber: Adequate fiber is necessary for proper digestion and rumen health.

Minerals and Vitamins: Sahiwal cattle require essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins to support various bodily functions.

3. Forage-Based Diet

Sahiwal cattle are well-suited to a forage-based diet, which includes a combination of grasses and legumes. This diet aligns with their natural feeding habits and ensures optimal health and milk production.

Pasture and Grazing Management: One of the most efficient ways to feed Sahiwal cattle is through rotational grazing. This practice involves dividing pasture into smaller sections and rotating cattle between them. It helps in preventing overgrazing, promotes the regrowth of forage, and minimizes soil erosion.

High-Quality Forage: Providing high-quality forage is essential for Sahiwal cattle. Legumes such as alfalfa and clover are excellent choices due to their high protein content. Combining legumes with grasses creates a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Silage and Hay Production: Silage and hay production are valuable for ensuring a year-round supply of nutritious feed. Farmers can harvest excess forage during the growing season and preserve it as silage or hay for winter feeding. This practice helps maintain consistent milk production and keeps cattle healthy during colder months.

Supplementing with Concentrates: While forage should be the primary component of Sahiwal cattle’s diet, supplementation with concentrates may be necessary, especially for lactating cows and growing calves. Concentrates can include grains like maize, sorghum, and oats, as well as protein-rich sources like soybean meal.

4. Feeding Strategies

Feeding strategies for Sahiwal cattle should be tailored to their specific life stage and purpose. Here are some key strategies:

Feeding Lactating Cows: Lactating Sahiwal cows have higher energy and protein requirements. Providing a balanced diet with ample forage, supplemented with concentrates, is essential for maintaining milk production. Regular monitoring of body condition helps ensure that cows receive adequate nutrition.

Feeding Calves: Calves require a balanced diet to support their growth and development. For the first few months, they primarily rely on their mother’s milk. As they transition to solid food, offering high-quality forage and calf starter feed is essential.

Feeding Bulls and Non-Lactating Cows: Bulls and non-lactating cows can thrive on a diet of high-quality forage and limited concentrates. Maintaining proper body condition in these animals is crucial for their health and future productivity.

Seasonal Adjustments: Feeding strategies should also consider seasonal variations. During the dry season, when forage quality may decline, supplementary feeding becomes more critical. Ensuring an adequate supply of water is particularly important during hot and dry periods.

5. Provide Adequate Water

Water is a fundamental component of Sahiwal cattle feeding. So, providing your animals with adequate clean and fresh water is very important. Clean and fresh water must be available at all times, as it plays several crucial roles:

Hydration: Adequate water intake is necessary to prevent dehydration, especially during hot weather.

Rumen Function: Water is essential for proper rumen fermentation and digestion.

Milk Production: Lactating cows require more water to support milk production.

Temperature Regulation: Water helps cattle regulate their body temperature, particularly in hot climates.

6. Provide Supplement and Mineral Blocks

The Sahiwal cattle may benefit from supplementation with mineral blocks in addition to forage and concentrates. These blocks provide essential minerals and trace elements that may be deficient in the diet.

If you are new in rasing cattle, then you should consult with veterinarians or nutritionists to determine the appropriate type and quantity of supplements for their specific herd.

7. Monitor Their Health Regularly

Regular health monitoring is crucial in Sahiwal cattle feeding. You should observe their cattle for signs of nutritional deficiencies, illness, or discomfort. Changes in appetite, body condition, or behavior should be addressed promptly to ensure the well-being of the herd.

Breeding

Successful breeding play a very important role to maintain and enhance the breed’s unique qualities. Here we are trying to describe more information about the breeding of Sahiwal cattle.

1. Breeding Goals for Sahiwal Cattle

When embarking on Sahiwal cattle breeding, it’s essential to establish clear breeding goals to guide the process. The primary objectives include:

Improved Milk Yield: Enhancing milk production while maintaining the breed’s characteristic high butterfat content is a primary breeding goal.

Disease Resistance: Selecting for disease resistance helps maintain the breed’s natural resilience and minimizes the need for medical interventions.

Adaptability: Maintaining and enhancing adaptability to diverse climates is crucial, especially as climate change affects agricultural practices.

Longevity: Breeding for longer productive lifespans ensures consistent milk production and cost-effectiveness for farmers.

2. Selection Criteria for Breeding

Effective Sahiwal cattle breeding begins with meticulous selection criteria. Farmers and breeders must carefully evaluate potential breeding animals based on various factors:

Conformation: Animals should exhibit the breed’s characteristic conformation, including a reddish-brown coat with white markings, well-developed bodies, and prominent milk veins.

Health: Only healthy animals should be selected for breeding to prevent the transmission of diseases or genetic defects.

Milk Production: Evaluate the milk production history of potential breeding cows and their dam’s milk yield to gauge their genetic potential.

Genetic Diversity: To prevent inbreeding and maintain genetic diversity, record-keeping and pedigree analysis are essential.

Temperament: Select animals with docile temperaments, making them easier to handle and manage on the farm.

3. Breeding Methods

Sahiwal cattle breeding can be achieved through various methods, each with its advantages and considerations:

Natural Breeding: In natural breeding, bulls are allowed to mate with cows without any human intervention. This method is simple and cost-effective but requires proper bull management.

Artificial Insemination (AI): AI involves the collection and artificial insemination of cows with carefully selected semen from high-quality bulls. AI allows for precise genetic selection and disease control.

Embryo Transfer (ET): ET is an advanced technique where embryos are collected from superior females and transferred to surrogate mothers. This method accelerates genetic improvement.

Crossbreeding: Crossbreeding Sahiwal cattle with other breeds can introduce desired traits, such as increased milk yield or meat quality. However, it requires careful planning and selection of the secondary breed.

4. Importance of Genetic Diversity

Maintaining genetic diversity is a crucial aspect of Sahiwal cattle breeding. Inbreeding can lead to the loss of desirable traits and an increase in genetic disorders. To prevent this, breeders should:

Keep Detailed Records: Maintain accurate records of pedigrees, birthdates, and performance data to identify animals suitable for breeding without close relation.

Collaborate with Breed Associations: Work closely with breed associations and genetic experts to access diverse gene pools and genetic information.

Avoid Overuse of Sires: Limit the use of popular sires to prevent a narrow genetic base.

Periodic Introduction of Outside Genetics: Consider introducing unrelated Sahiwal cattle to infuse new genetic material.

5. Genetic Testing and Improvement

Modern genetic testing technologies have revolutionized Sahiwal cattle breeding. Farmers and breeders can now use DNA testing to identify specific genetic markers associated with desired traits. These markers help in making informed breeding decisions, leading to faster genetic improvement.

6. Breeding for Improved Milk Production

Breeding for improved milk production is a central goal in Sahiwal cattle breeding. Strategies to achieve this goal include:

Selecting High-Yield Females: Choose cows and heifers with a history of high milk production, especially from dams with impressive records.

Identifying Superior Bulls: Identify and use semen from bulls with a proven track record of siring high-yield daughters.

Monitor and Record Performance: Continuously monitor the milk production of all cows and record the data. Use this information to make informed breeding decisions.

Crossbreeding: Consider crossbreeding with dairy breeds known for high milk yield to introduce desired traits.

Caring

Sahiwal is a very strong and hardy cattle breed and it generally require less caring and other management. Although, taking additional care will help the animals to stay healthy and productive. Here we are trying to discuss about the main caring tasks of these animals.

1. Nutrition and Feeding

Proper nutrition forms the foundation of Sahiwal cattle care. Providing a balanced diet tailored to their needs is essential for their well-being and milk production. Here are key aspects of nutrition and feeding:

Forage-Based Diet: Sahiwal cattle thrive on a forage-based diet. High-quality grasses and legumes should make up the bulk of their diet, ensuring adequate fiber, protein, and energy intake.

Grazing Management: Implement rotational grazing to prevent overgrazing and maintain pasture quality. Provide access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Supplementary Feeding: Depending on individual nutritional requirements, consider supplementing with concentrates during periods of high milk production, growth, or when forage quality is inadequate.

Mineral and Vitamin Supplements: Ensure Sahiwal cattle receive appropriate mineral and vitamin supplements to prevent deficiencies. Consult with a veterinarian or nutritionist to formulate a balanced supplementation plan.

2. Housing and Shelter

Creating a comfortable and secure environment for Sahiwal cattle is integral to their care. Adequate housing and shelter protect them from extreme weather conditions and promote overall well-being:

Shelter Design: Construct well-ventilated shelters that protect cattle from rain, wind, and excessive sun exposure. Adequate insulation helps maintain a moderate temperature inside the shelter.

Bedding: Provide comfortable bedding, such as straw or sand, to ensure cattle have a dry and clean resting area.

Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation to prevent heat stress during hot months and to maintain air quality inside the shelter.

Pasture Access: Allow for outdoor access to pasture during the day for exercise and grazing, promoting physical and mental health.

3. Health Management

Proactive health management is crucial for Sahiwal cattle care. Preventive measures and timely interventions help maintain a healthy herd:

Vaccination: Develop a vaccination schedule in consultation with a veterinarian to protect cattle from common diseases.

Parasite Control: Implement a deworming program to control internal and external parasites. Regularly monitor cattle for signs of infestation.

Regular Health Checks: Conduct routine health checks to identify and address any health issues promptly.

Isolation: Isolate sick or potentially contagious cattle to prevent the spread of diseases within the herd.

4. Reproduction and Breeding

Efficient reproduction and breeding practices are essential for maintaining a productive Sahiwal cattle herd:

Breeding Records: Maintain accurate breeding records to track the breeding history and genetic lineage of each animal.

Artificial Insemination (AI): Consider AI to improve genetic traits and maintain genetic diversity within the herd. Use semen from high-quality bulls with desirable traits.

Pregnancy Diagnosis: Implement regular pregnancy diagnosis to identify and manage pregnant cows and non-pregnant ones accordingly.

Calving Management: Provide appropriate care and nutrition to pregnant cows nearing calving to ensure safe and healthy deliveries.

Calf Care: Pay special attention to calf care, including colostrum feeding, vaccination, and proper nutrition for healthy growth and development.

5. Handling and Behavior

Understanding the behavior of Sahiwal cattle and implementing effective handling practices is key to their care:

Gentle Handling: Sahiwal cattle are known for their docile temperament. Handle them gently to build trust and minimize stress.

Herd Management: Establish a hierarchy within the herd to reduce aggression and ensure a peaceful environment.

Handling Facilities: Invest in proper handling facilities, such as chutes and headlocks, to safely manage cattle during routine procedures.

Training: Train cattle for routine tasks such as milking or hoof trimming to reduce anxiety and make handling more efficient.

6. Environmental Management

Environmental factors can significantly impact Sahiwal cattle care:

Climate Adaptation: Sahiwal cattle have natural adaptability, but provide additional shade and water during extreme heat and protection from cold during winters.

Pest Control: Implement pest control measures to protect cattle from flies, ticks, and other pests that can transmit diseases.

Manure Management: Properly manage manure to maintain cleanliness and prevent contamination of water sources.

7. Economic Considerations

Balancing Sahiwal cattle care with economic viability is essential:

Cost Analysis: Regularly assess the costs associated with Sahiwal cattle care, including feed, health management, and infrastructure maintenance.

Record-Keeping: Maintain detailed records of expenses and income related to cattle farming to make informed financial decisions.

Market Awareness: Stay informed about market trends and pricing to maximize returns on milk and other cattle products.

Special Notes

The Sahiwal cattle are very strong and hardy animals. They are very heat tolerant and generally do very well in some south Asian countries.

The cows are the heaviest milkers of all zebu cattle breeds, and they display a well-developed udder.

Sahiwal cattle are now predominantly used in Australia for beef production, as crossing high-grade Sahiwal sires with European breeds produced a carcass of lean quality with desirable fat cover.

Sahiwal bulls have demonstrated the ability to sire small, fast-growing calves, noted for their hardiness under unfavorable climatic conditions.[1]

Milk of the Sahiwal cattle is of very good quality and generally used for making many different milk products. However, review full breed profile of this cattle breed in the chart below.

Breed NameSahiwal
Other NamesAlso known by some other names such as Mint Kumre, Lambi Bar, Lola, Montgomery, Multani and Teli
Breed PurposeMilk and draft
Special NotesGood behavior and temperament, known for their hardiness and their ability to convert grass into milk efficiently, able to adapt a wide variety of climates, very good for milk production, milk is of good quality, the breed is also good for meat, good for draft purposes, top among the zebu cattle breeds
Breed SizeMedium
BullsBetween 400 and 500 kg
CowsBetween 700 and 800 kg
Climate ToleranceAll climates
Coat ColorGenerally brownish red to greyish red
HornedYes
Milk YieldGood
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginPakistan
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Essential Tips for Successfully Raising Sahiwal Cattle

Raising Sahiwal cattle is relatively easy and simple. These cattle are well known for their exceptional milk production, resilience, and adaptability. However, here we are trying to describe more information about caring these animals.

1. Learn Practically

First of all, try to learn more about these animals practically from any farmers or breeders. This is very important for starting your new cattle rearing business, because practical knowledge in this field is very essential.

2. Make an Effective Business Plan

Making a good and effective business plan is very important. So, try to make a good and effective business plan before starting this business. You can also ask for help from an expert if you are are new in this field.

3. Purchase Healthy Stock

Begin with healthy, disease-free Sahiwal cattle. Purchase animals from reputable breeders or farms with a history of good animal health practices. Always try to purchase from your local breeders.

4. Understand Sahiwal Breed Characteristics

Before diving into raising Sahiwal cattle, familiarize yourself with the breed’s unique characteristics, including coat color, conformation, and milk production capabilities. Practical farm visits will be very beneficial in this regard.

5. Provide High Quality and Nutritious Food

Providing your animals with very good and high quality food is very important. So, always try to provide a balanced diet to your animals that includes high-quality forage, fresh water, and appropriate supplements. Consult with a nutritionist or veterinarian to create a feeding plan tailored to your herd’s needs.

6. Provide Them Adequate Water

Along with providing your animals with good quality and nutritious food, always try to provide them with clean, fresh water at all times to keep cattle hydrated and healthy.

7. Practice Good Pasture Management

Sahiwal cattle are good grazers. Try to implement rotational grazing to maintain healthy pastures, prevent overgrazing, and promote regrowth of forage.

8. Shelter and Shade

Construct well-ventilated shelters to protect cattle from extreme weather conditions. Ensure they have access to shade during hot months.

9. Keep Bedding Areas Clean

Keep bedding areas clean and dry to prevent health issues and maintain cattle comfort. Regular cleaning will help to prevent bacteria and also the growth of harmful insects.

10. Perform Regular Health Check-ups

Conduct regular health checks to detect and address any health issues promptly. Work closely with a veterinarian to establish a healthcare plan.

11. Vaccination Program

Develop a vaccination program based on the specific needs of your herd and regional disease prevalence. Keep vaccination records up to date.

12. Deworming and Parasite Control

Implement a deworming program to control internal and external parasites. Rotate dewormers to prevent resistance.

13. Calf Caring is Important

Provide appropriate care and attention during calving to ensure safe deliveries. Monitor pregnant cows closely as their due dates approach.

Ensure newborn calves receive colostrum within the first few hours of birth to boost their immunity and health.

Feed calves with a balanced diet, including milk replacer or dam’s milk, as well as calf starter feed to support growth and development.

14. Training and Socialization

Training and socializing your animals is also very important. Try to handle and train cattle gently from a young age to reduce stress and make routine tasks like milking or veterinary care more manageable.

15. Disease Isolation

Isolate sick or potentially contagious cattle to prevent the spread of diseases within the herd. Doing this is very important for keeping your other healthy animals safe and secure.

16. Use Artificial Insemination (AI)

Consider artificial insemination (AI) to improve genetic traits and maintain genetic diversity within the herd. Use semen from high-quality bulls with desirable traits. Today, there are numerous breeding centers available throughout India for collecting the semen.

17. Keep Breeding Records

Keep accurate breeding records to track the lineage and breeding history of each animal in your herd.

18. Crossbreeding Strategies

You can try experiment with crossbreeding to introduce desirable traits from other breeds while maintaining Sahiwal characteristics.

19. Bull Management

If you are using natural breeding, ensure bulls are in good health and possess desirable traits. Rotate or replace bulls periodically to prevent inbreeding.

20. Proper Handling Facilities

Invest in proper handling facilities such as chutes, headlocks, and squeeze gates to facilitate routine tasks and minimize stress on cattle.

21. Marketing

Marketing your products perfectly is also very important. Because, you will not be able to make good profits from your business if you can’t market your products well. So, determine your marketing strategies before starting this business. Stay informed about market trends and pricing for cattle and cattle products to maximize your returns.

Frequently Asked Questions

People ask many questions about Sahiwal cattle. Here we are listing the most common questions about this cattle breed, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

What is a Sahiwal cattle?

Sahiwal cattle is a breed of zebu cattle known for its high milk production, resilience, and adaptability.

What is special about Sahiwal cow?

The Sahiwal cow is popular and noted for it’s heat tolerance, tick-resistant and it’s high resistance to both internal and external parasites. It is a highly milk productive breed and noted for it’s good quality milk. These cows produce A2 milk.

How much milk does a Sahiwal cow give?

A good Sahiwal cow can give around or up to 10 liters of milk per day.

Is Sahiwal a pure breed?

Yes, Sahiwal is a pure breed cow. It is a breed of zebu cow, which is named after an area in the Punjab, Pakistan.

How much milk does a Sahiwal cow produce per day?

A Sahiwal cow can produce around or up to 10 liters of milk per day.

Which cow is better Gir or Sahiwal?

Gir cows can give 15 to 20 kg milk per day, while Sahiwal cows can produce up to 25 kg milk per day. Milk yielding capacity of Sahiwal cow is much more than the Gir cow. But, quality of milk of Gir cow is much better than Sahiwal cow. So, the decision is yours.

Does Sahiwal cow give A2 milk?

Yes, this breed give A2 milk. Actually, India’s desi cow breeds like Gir, Sahiwal and Tharparkar have a genetic make-up that yields milk high in A2.

Is Sahiwal a desi cow?

Yes, it is a desi cow.

Why is Sahiwal famous?

The Sahiwal cow is popular and famous for it’s high milk production, heat tolerance, tick-resistant and it’s high resistance to both internal and external parasites.

Why Sahiwal cow milk is costly?

The Sahiwal cows produce A2 milk, and price of A2 milk is much higher.

How much food Sahiwal cows eat daily?

Depends on the age and size of the cow. The Sahiwals are actually a heavy feeder and their feed requirements are high. They generally consume about 2 percent of their body weight. For example, if your Sahiwal’s body weight is 500 kg, then it will require about 10 kg food daily.

Is Sahiwal cow ghee good for health?

Yes, ghee from these cow is very good for health. It is rich in vitamin A, E and D. It is especially good for skin health.

Where do Sahiwal cattle originate from?

Sahiwal cattle originate from the Sahiwal district in Punjab, Pakistan.

What is the primary purpose of raising Sahiwal cattle?

Sahiwal cattle are primarily raised for milk production but are also valued for meat.

What is the typical coloration of Sahiwal cattle?

They are typically reddish-brown with white markings on the face, limbs, and tail.

How much milk can Sahiwal cows produce daily?

Sahiwal cows can produce an average of 8 to 12 liters of milk per day.

What makes Sahiwal cattle resilient to harsh conditions?

They have adapted to diverse climates and are known for their natural resistance to common cattle diseases.

Can Sahiwal cattle thrive in both hot and cold climates?

Yes, Sahiwal cattle can adapt to a wide range of climates, making them suitable for various regions.

What is the average lifespan of Sahiwal cattle?

With proper care, Sahiwal cattle can live up to 12 to 15 years or more.

Are Sahiwal cattle good for meat production?

Yes, they are dual-purpose cattle, so they can also be raised for meat, and their meat is considered of good quality.

What is the role of genetics in Sahiwal cattle breeding?

Genetics play a vital role in breeding Sahiwal cattle to enhance desirable traits such as milk production and disease resistance.

What are some common health issues in Sahiwal cattle?

Common health issues can include parasitic infections, respiratory illnesses, and nutritional deficiencies.

How should Sahiwal cattle be fed to maximize milk production?

They should be provided with a balanced diet that includes high-quality forage, fresh water, and appropriate supplements.

What is rotational grazing, and why is it beneficial for Sahiwal cattle?

Rotational grazing involves moving cattle between different pasture sections to prevent overgrazing and promote regrowth of forage.

How can I prevent diseases in my Sahiwal cattle herd?

Implement a vaccination program, deworming, and maintain strict biosecurity measures.

Is artificial insemination (AI) commonly used in Sahiwal cattle breeding?

Yes, AI is a popular method to improve genetic traits and maintain genetic diversity within the herd.

Can Sahiwal cattle be crossbred with other breeds?

Yes, crossbreeding can be done to introduce desirable traits from other breeds while preserving Sahiwal characteristics.

What are some signs of heat stress in Sahiwal cattle?

Signs of heat stress include excessive panting, reduced feed intake, and decreased milk production.

How can I provide proper shelter for Sahiwal cattle during extreme weather conditions?

Construct well-ventilated shelters and provide shade during hot months and insulation during cold winters.

What is the importance of colostrum feeding for Sahiwal calves?

Colostrum provides essential antibodies and nutrients, boosting the calf’s immunity and health.

How should I handle Sahiwal cattle to minimize stress?

Handle them gently, use proper handling facilities, and practice low-stress cattle handling techniques.

What is the gestation period for Sahiwal cows?

The gestation period for Sahiwal cows is approximately 280 days or about nine months.

How can I maintain genetic diversity in my Sahiwal cattle herd?

Keep accurate breeding records, collaborate with breed associations, and introduce unrelated animals periodically.

What is the economic viability of raising Sahiwal cattle?

The economic viability depends on factors like feed costs, healthcare expenses, and market trends for milk and cattle products. Proper management can lead to a profitable venture.

What are the characteristics of Sahiwal?

The Sahiwal cattle are medium in size and they are very beautiful. Their common body coloration is brownish red to greyish red. Both bulls and cows generally have horns. As a medium sized breed, average body weight of the mature bulls is between 400 and 500 kg. And average body weight of the mature cows is between 700 and 800 kg.

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