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Gir Cow

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Body Size: The origin of the breed is in the Gir forest region and surrounding districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat State. It is a moderate to large size breed. The females average 385 kg with a height of 130 cm and the males average 545 kg with a height of 135 cm. The average milk yield for the Gir is 1590 kg per lactation, with a record production of 3182 kg at 4.5% fat in India. In Brazil they average 3500 kg per lactation, with a world record production of 17.120 kg by the cow Profana de Brasília. The body colour is shining red to spotted white. Skin is soft, thin, and glossy. Occasionally animals which are predominantly white with red spots are also seen, according to Dr. J. V. Solanki, Dean, Veterinary College, Anand Agricultural University (AAU), Anand, Gujarat.

Head: The most unique feature of Girs is their convex forehead, which acts as a cooling radiator to the brain and pituitary gland (source of growth and reproduction hormones). The animals have a big head with prominent bulging shield like forehead and a long face.

Ears: Their ears are long and pendulous, opening to the front and resembling a curled up leaf. Gir ears are very large and are an excellent fly and insect swatter.

Horns: Horns are set well back on their heads and thick at the base. They grow downwards and backwards with an upward curve.

Color: The vary in color from pure red to speckles, yellowish red to white with large red spots. Their undercoat is red.

Skin: Their skin is darkly pigmented with short glossy hair, very loose and pliable. They can twitch it anywhere on their body to dislodge insects and have a whip like tail, which is deadly on insects. They sweat just like a horse.

Eyes: A Gir’s eyes are hooded and black pigmented. They can close their eyelids so it is impossible for insects to annoy them. They have a lot of loose skin around the eye area.

Feet: Gir’s feet are black and very hard.

Sheath: The sheath is supported by a very strong panniculus muscle either side. The muscle can raise and lower the sheath at will. Sheaths are very neat and tidy.

Sebum: Is a substance secreted in the skin, which is greasy and acts as an insect repellent.

Fertility: Girs are highly fertile and calve very regularly. Their calves are born small so calving problems are unheard of.

Hump: The hump on a Gir is considered to be the largest of the Zebu breeds and is very well marbled. It is used as a pot roast.

Temperament: Girs are considered to be the most gentle of the Zebu breeds. They love being with humans. They adore being brushed and scratched on their big dew laps, around the head, and between the back legs. Their temperament is well illustrated in Brasil where the cow will come into bails to be milked by machines just like any Friesian or Jersey cow. They are very gregarious and at night form a circle very close together with their calves sleeping under their necks. Gir cattle are one of the three Zebu breeds used to develop the American Brahman. Two of the most famous foundation sires, Manso and Emperor, carried a high Gir content. This can be seen in their down swept horns, big humps, straight wide backs, and beautifully sloping, filled out hind quarters.