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. The body colour is shining red to spotted white. Skin is soft, thin, and glossy.
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. Their ears are long and pendulous, opening to the front and resembling a curled up leaf. Gir cows ears are very large and are an excellent fly and insect swatter. Horns are set well back on their heads and thick at the base. They grow downwards and backwards with an upward curve. They vary in color from pure red to speckles, yellowish red to white with large red spots. Their undercoat is red. 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. 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. Gir’s feet are black and very hard. 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.
Girs are highly fertile and calve very regularly. Their calves are born small so calving problems are unheard of. The hump on a Gir is considered to be the largest of the Zebu breeds and is very well marbled. 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. They are very gregarious and at night form a circle very close together with their calves. Gujarat is estimated to have only around 3,00,000 pure breed Gir cows left. And now, the Gir breed is set to go global.
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Our Gwalas live with their Gir Cows in Manchar – Shikrapur belt in Pune District.
Our cows are kept in open spaces (without tying) in small groups of 40 – 50. Each group has one bull for natural mating.
They are taken for grazing during the day time in open grazing fields. This brings our cows in direct contact of sunlight and helps to increase nutrional value of milk.
Our calves have first right of mother’s milk. After feeding them, our Gwala’s hand milks the cow. We don’t use machine for milking as it over-squeezesand dries the udder.
Our Cows are not given any hormonal injection, etc. For us our cows are part of a family and not commodity.