Humpback cows

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An exotic for European countries animal - a humpbacked cow, or zebu, lives in the open spaces of Africa and Southeast Asia. Differs in endurance and unpretentiousness, it is used, more often, as a cattle. Its peculiarity is muscular-fat hump located in the zone of withers. Zebu plays such a large role in the lives of residents of hot countries that in Madagascar his image has become a symbol of the state.

The origin of the breed

Despite the fact that the humpbacked bull became a symbol of Madagascar, its birthplace is in India, it was from there that its ancestors spread throughout Southeast Asia.

In India, zebu is highly revered, for Hinduists, the animal is considered sacred.

About a hundred years ago, humpbacked bulls and cows were brought to Africa and America. There they got accustomed and became indispensable in agriculture.

Asian and African zebu differ from European history of origin. The ancestors of mid-latitude cows are wild tours. But zebu is a completely separate branch, which separated from the main line three hundred thousand years ago. Until now, biologists have no unanimous opinion as to who their ancestor is — tours or bison.

Features of appearance

Zebu's striking feature is the hump, which can reach 30 cm in height, and a fold of skin between the legs. These are large animals, the cow's weight reaches 400 kg, and a bull with a hump weighs an average of 500 kg.

Their color is most often brown and ash gray, but there are also red, black and spotted individuals. Very big ears also rush to eyes. Their size can be up to 50 cm. If the animal is calm, they just hang.

The heads of the bulls are decorated with beautiful, slightly rounded horns, the cows have small horns.

The hump characteristic of the breed is a bone growth on the spine in the zone of the ridge. Over time, it acquires fat and increases in size. The older the animal, the bigger it is.

For centuries, zebu crossed with other cows, so now there are about 90 species of this breed.

Spheres of use

Zebu use:

  • like animals;
  • source of milk and meat;
  • in entertainment - horse racing and rodeo.

Their common feature is such a high degree of endurance that they survive where other animals die.

Humpback bulls and cows are irreplaceable, like pig animals. The area of ​​their distribution is zones with a hot tropical or subtropical climate. In India, where they are considered sacred animals, their meat is not eaten, but they are very fond of milk. It is the favorite product of all Indians. Zebu's very fat milk is the ideal source for making the famous ghee ghee. The percentage of fat it can reach up to 8%, and an average of 5-6%

True, humpbacked milk gives little milk. It is quite difficult to milk them, until the zebu feed their calves, they will not give milk. In a year milk yield may range from 500 to 700 liters.

Interestingly, in Brazil, it is the breed of humpback cows that forms the basis of the meat industry. Slaughter yield in some species of zebu comes to 48%.

In Madagascar, they are also revered as sacred animals, but this does not prevent the locals from eating zebu meat. Sometimes they find a rather unexpected application for cows. They participate in horse racing and rodeo, developing a great speed when running - up to 70 km per hour.

In countries with a cooler climate, zebu do not survive. Therefore, for Russians, they remain exotic animals.

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