It is also called the Nellore breed for the
reason that formerly Ongole Taluk, a division of a district, was included
in the Nellore district, but now it is included in the Guntur district.
The area is part of the Andhra Pradesh in India.
This breed is included among the gray-white cattle of the north, having
white or gray color, stumpy horns and a long coffin-shaped skull.
It has a great similarity with the Gaolao breed of Madhya Predesh
and also has a resemblance to the Bhagnari type of cattle in the north
This similarity is not surprising in view of
the fact that these breeds lie along the path taken by the Rig Vedic
Aryans in their march from the north to the south of India.
It is claimed that the finest specimens of the breed are found in
the area between the Gundalakama and Alluru rivers in the Ongole and
Kandukur taluks, and also in the villages of Karumanchi, Nidamanur,
Pondur, Jayavaram, Tungtoor and Karvadi and along the banks of River
Musi. They are also famous from the taluks of Vinukonda and Narasraopet.
The Ongoles are large-sized animals with loosely
knit frames, large dewlaps which are fleshy and hang in folds extending
to the navel flap, and slightly pendulous sheaths. They have long
bodies and short necks; limbs are long and muscular.
The forehead is broad between the eyes and
slightly prominent. Eyes are elliptical in shape with black eyelashes
and a ring of black skin about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide around the eyes.
Ears are moderately long, measuring on an average for 9 to 12 inches,
and slightly drooping.
Horns are short and stumpy, growing outwards
and backwards, thick at the base and firm without cracks. In some
animals the horns are loose; this is probably due to the horn core
not growing well.
The hump in the males is well-developed and erect and filled up on
both sides and not concave. The skin is of medium thickness, mellow
and elastic and often shows black mottled markings.
The popular color is white. The male has dark
gray markings on the head, neck and hump and sometimes black points
on the knees and on the pasterns of both the fore and hind legs. A
red or red and white animal of typical conformation is occasionally
They have a white switch of the
tail, white eyelashes, a flesh colored muzzle, light colored hooves,
dark gray marking on the hindquarters and dark mottle appearance on
Ongole cattle are efficiently
used in their native home for both work and milk production. They
are usually docile and the bulls are very powerful, suitable for heavy
plowing or car work but are not considered to be suitable for fast
work or trotting purposes. The cows are fair milkers.
All animals currently used for food and agriculture and the result
of Domestication from wild progenitor species like their wild relatives.
These Domestic species are continuously evolving albeit at an accelerated
rate due to human activity.
In general the history of cattle followed the history of man,
where even either primitive or modern. Man has migrated he has tended
to bring with him his own breeds of cattle. During vedic period many
of the useful animals have been brought under service of man, particularly
became useful since Rigvedic period. The selected those animals species
that are having vigor, inborn nearness, social ability and docility.
evolutionary process has been accelerated in the domestic species
particularly cattle, as a consequence of 10,000 years of selection
by human, during this period with in the species genetic variation
which is essential for the survival of all species, has been partially
redistributed in the formation of the large number of unique cattle
breeds now exists.
breeds have adopted too many environments as the breeds spread and
have been used to produce different types and combinations. A major
group of mammals to be domesticated after caprinae were the large
ruminants (Bovinae), which included the humped (Bos indicus) and hump
less (Bos Taurus) cattle, yak, mithun, banteng and buffalo.
range of species in the family Bovinae make a very large number of
important contributions to food and agriculture, providing just under
30% world meat and 87% world milk. This Bovinae provided the planet
with a means of digesting via fermentation.
types of zebu animals are present from the time of Indus Valley civilization
dating back to 3000 BC Indian subcontinent is a treasure house of
in the breed tract has selected and preserved each successive variation,
with the distinct intention of improving and altering a breed, in
accordance with a preconceived idea, and by thus adding up variations,
often so slight as to be imperceptible to the uneducated.
has effected wonderful changes and improvements in the direction he
desired as we see here under in Ongole Breed from 1880. There is a
tendency in the breed to grow leggy with sparse light carriage, but
their form, temper and endurance earned nearness to the breeders.
of heat loads on Ongole cattle
radiation received from sun is through solar terrestrial. The amount
of radiation emitted for a particular location depends on global positioning,
latitude, and longitude.
radiation is intense in tropics, having sterilizing effect, stimulates
tissues, increases metabolic processes. Non-pigmented skin has a definite
hazard. 85% of solar radiated heat is sent back to the environment
by the Ongole animal through its white, reflective coat.
variations such as seasons, humidity, latitude, altitude, influences
variation in radiant heat loads. The rest 15% of heat immediately
absorbed by the under lying black skin.
When the animal has nine blacks, total body skin will be black these
cattle reduces heat load through behavioral means, and postural adjustments,
also orientation towards sun make it protect its own parts through
shade and thus reducing heat loads.
legs of this breed helps in minimizing absorption of solar radiated
heat. Light carriage also helps are exposed to sun.
and convective heat loads on these cattle transfer between surroundings
and direct contact through soil and bedding, drinking water, feeds and
fodders. Avoiding lying down stretching its body parts also helps.
Light is the most constant factor having vigor. Light influences on
pituitary, shedding of hair on seasons, increase in metabolism, vision.
High light intensity decreases cell wall content and increases water-soluble
carbohydrates in vegetation and thus influences livestock.
of moisture in air is humidity. Air moisture content influences animals
heat balance particularly in warm climates where evaporative cooling
is crucial to homeothermy. High humidity associated with high temperature
favors less nutritive value of feeds and fodders, of ten the stock
are light colored, with pigmented skins, and shade lovers.
These influence humidity aerial movement, transpiration, rainfall
associated with hardiness and thriftiness:
Has the ability to reverse down metabolism during extremes of scarcity.
Efficient forager and does not force the calf for foraging.
Fruitful in milk with exact fat percentage to keep the calves at rapid
Tight sheath and small teats to avoid injuries of grazing animals.
Sloppy rumps are suitable for quick and hard work, having 4 sacral vertebrae.
Have more number of bigger, functional, sweat glands per unit area of
Having white or light colored, short, sleek, densely, reflecting and
glistering coat, which will not attract vectors and dislodge them with
Skin, pigmented, black, mellow, loose, thick and presence of subcutaneous
panniculus carnosis muscle, which repels vectors by twitching.
Highest heat tolerant coefficient.
Basal metabolic rate low.
Nutritional uniqueness, ability to convert low protein, high fiber roughage
materials into high-grade foodstuffs with the aid of Omasal symbionts,
such as thrives and performs well on inferior fodders.
Crude protein utilization is highest.
Perform well where even pastures are seasonal, scanty, and sparse.
Spent much time in grazing even during daytime, seek shade only 3% of
their total grazing time.
Slow to cycle, when under nutritional stress or lactation stress, but
response to cycle is immediate when nutrients are plenty.
the breed tract comprises areas where there is no assured or commercial
crops, leaving cattle raising as the only profitable proposition by
selling bull ghee (Clarified butter), since crops and cultivation
are not profitable.
farmers are quite aware of the food, investment, manure, forage, draught
animal power and employment linkages, improving through subsistence
security, transfer of nutrients, modification of vegetation and finally
increasing the human support capacity of the land through Ongole breed
cattle raising formed a part of risk education strategy with agriculture,
as livestock is a saving account and their calves are interest.
farmer is quite conscious of the herd management policy options on
direct costs and indirect costs, breeding, off take, purchase and
culling. It clearly indicates this breed is originally dairy, later
transformed as dual purpose i.e., dairy and draft animals, presently
mostly a draught animal.
breed tract comprised between rivers Krishna on Northern side, Pennar
River on Southern side, nalamalai range of forest on Western side
and Coromandai coast on Eastern side lying between 15.00 to 16.10’
east latitude and 79.04’ to 80.02’ north longitude.
rivulets gundlakamma, madigandi, Paleru, Muneru, Musi, Chilakaleru.
Whose extensive banks became excellent grazing areas. With population
growth and consequent demand for cereals the Brahmini bull selection
system has been oriented towards draft characters.
soils are black loam to black clay having large quantities of lime
with soil pH of 6.9 to 7.2 most favorable for notification bacteria
and luxuriant growth of legumes. Annual rain fall of about 900mm with
about 50 rainy days out of which 2/3 roads are from southwest monsoon
and 1/3 from northeast monsoon supporting most of the cereal crops.
The average ambient temperature of maximum 32 degrees Celsius and
minimum of 23.5 degrees Celsius and average relative humidity of 79%.
formation of Krishna and Godavari Ayacuts during 1850’s with assured
irrigation and increased demand for draft services, the breed tract
extended to Krishna, Godavari and northern circars.
tract is for breeding and extended tract for breeding and rearing,
further ceded districts and Nalgonda and Mohaboob Nagar districts
as rearing tracts. Extension of breed tract forced for 2 reasons.
demand for draft services from the area and generally the same species
need the same resources and thus are bound to complete for the same,
except when they are colonizing a new habitat, as such expansion of
organized efforts of the colonial rule, the institution of Brahmini
Bull system in the ongole area has substantially improved the breed
by avoiding inferior breeding and inbreeding.
It has been the custom in the area that dedicating a young bull selected
by a village committee funded by village rich men or the local diety
and the bull being branded at a ceremony either with Sanku, Chakra,
Trisul, then becomes common property and Brahmini bull is the property
of the village and covers the village herd, this is how a small farmer
provided the stud services.
changes in cropping pattern from cereals to commercial crops like
chillis, and Tobacco during the 1930’s and cotton during 1960’s have
badly affected the breeds feed resources.
the introduction and expansion of artificial insemination programs
rapidly has resulted in affecting the distribution of breeding bulls
under various schemes have been stopped and there is decay in the
institution of Brahmini Bull system which primarily supported the
breed for centuries.
1960’s introduction of Taurus breeds through aid programs has helped
large scale indiscriminate breeding in the valuable Ongole herds.
Like all other resources, the livestock wealth should also to be carefully
and properly utilized and preserved.
in an attempt to improve milk production in Ongole cattle did many
mistakes. One major error was the perception that output reflects
efficiency, Hence the use of exotics on Ongoles to improve indigenous
stock. Output was very often the main criteria for which a breed was
after sinking in a lot of money and time, we could learn that genetics
is only one and often not the main tool that can ensure greater efficiency
of output. Husbandry, survival, health, reproduction efficiency of
feed utilization parameters becomes important.
In a craze for cross breeding the excellent government herds built
up for decades were also not spared by the planners. The saying that
breeding policy should depend on animal, existing production potential,
anticipated, goals, environment, man and economic development rather
than prejudice, taste and trivial dictates.
associated with disease resistance:
Reticulo endothelial system well developed.
Resistant to eye cancer.
Through their coating, insulating, secretary characters are more resistant
to tick born diseases.
Zebum secretion is fly repellent.
Flexible tail tip, having cartilage in place of last 3 or 4 vertebrae
helps as a brush to repel vectors.
The effects of climatologically variables on Ongoles are varied. High
external heat load due to both radiant and high air temperature exposure
depends on degree, and duration.
acute exposure the animal tries to accommodate rather than combat.
As a routine the metabolic heat and the catabolic heat produced with
in the body also needs to be eliminated.
heat loss mechanism reaches its maximum values the animal resorts
to methods of reducing heat production in an effort to achieve homoeothermic.
in calarogenic hormones accompanies decrease in Basal Metabolic rate,
voluntary feed intake, muscular and ruminal activity and changes in
release of gonadotrophic hormone and thus reduced sexual activity.
Ability of animals to maintain core temperature in physiological adaptability
and the ability to maintain production/reproduction/growth rates in
productive adaptability. These two are often at variance.
Thus selection of traits of physiological adaptability is often incompatible
with improvement of production and consequently they are undesirable.
Mere reproductive opportunism is generally short lived, if the adaptive
ness of the organism is not maintained and almost invariably proves
is not the case with the Ongoles. Long range fitness of ongole cattle
population depends on adaptation, through the stability, variability
and the rate of environmental changes helped through domestication
by the farmers as they are treated as family pets.
Selection of Ongoles, which attain homeothermy mostly by heat loss
mechanism without resorting to reducing the heat production would
be those of choice from economic view point.
larger breeds of livestock were ever bred in acid pH soils. The soil
pH being 7.2 in tract most favorable for legumes. So it increased muscle
protein and skeletal size. Cattle in acid pH soils are small in size
and are shade lovers.
The fodder crops, grasses and trees
that supported the breed for centuries need to be enlightened. The
fodder crops either grain or crops or crop residues available from
sorghum, zeamays, crotalaria, macrotylma, vigna, cicer, pennisestum,
sataria, oryza, kollaganjeru, fodder trees like acacia, azaridachta
and fiscus are also used to shade trees.
The fodder grasses that were grown
naturally on rivers and rivulets banks, private grazing lands and
common grazing lands include andropogan, iseilema, indigofera grasses
species has maintained this breed for centuries.
After formation of ayacut the Ongole
cattle need to go to forest for grazing from June/July and return
only after December/January, surviving predation and theft later attending
to threshing operations of cereals.
The migration of population from rural
to urban areas, changes in society and pressure on land working against
the interest of Ongole cattle, since they are located specific the
available poor, scanty, sparse, and seasonal fodders which are low
in protein and high in fiber need to be improved by inter-cultivation
of legumes, intercropping, chaffing, treatment by way of extensive
use of agro industrial bye products should be extensively used.
associated with self-reliance:
Enduring and estimable.
Docile but alert.
Intelligent and respond well for treatment if handled with love, skill,
Athletic in nature, with majestic appearance, head high, square walk
and quick step, giving noble but heavy look.
Try to move in groups to avoid predators.
Highest ability to self-preserve and longevity is more than 15 years.
Long bodied with big skeletal size and with ability to gain weight more
perceptible after 2 years of age and massive.
Lack in heart girth due to preponderance of draught type.
Vitality and Vigor unique in young ones.
Outstanding Mothering ability.
Highest combining ability for cross breeding and formation of new breeds.
Highest rustling ability to walk long distances in search of food and
water and to pace with the herds.
Marked tolerance to direct sunlight and radiation.
Loose skin, hump, dewlap and other appendages contribute 12% excess
surface area per unit weight over Taurus breeds.
Outward disposition of horns helps defend from predators.
Have highest coetaneous and lowest respiratory heat loss as such panting
Have highest multiple ability of adaptation for climate fodder and pathogens.
Sensitiveness, intelligence and shyness make them more independent and
less dependent on man, more energetic and resourceful.
Reproductive uniqueness, higher reproduction rates and more number of
lifetime calves high calf survival rates.
Calving ease and minimum dystokias, with more birth weight of cattle.
skin covers body and provides protection literally a thermostat for
the body. Heat flows from core organs like brain, heart, liver, spleen,
intestines, and lungs to surface of body and from surface it should
be sent out to environment through radiation, conduction and convection.
contains sebascous and sweat glands, muscles, roots of hair, fallacies
and capillaries. When all nine blacks are present, the whole skin
is pigmented and black. The presence of subcutaneous “panniculus carnosis”
muscle helps in repelling vectors through twitching.
sweating/respiratory heat loss is 6 in zebus where as it is only 4
in Taurus breeds. Water resorption in kidney and colon is double that
of the Taurus. Though skin studies were done in 10 indigenous breeds
in India no work was done in Ongoles, but the skin type may lie between
type 1 and type 3.
Skin being highly vascular more heat is sent out as sensible heat
loss or diffusion heat loss. In Ongoles evaporative and sweat contribute
much heat loss.
cattle skin secretes zebum, which filters ultraviolet rays. Due to
high vascular they bleed profusely if punctured and wounds will heal
quickly. Being black in color the 15% of solar heat allowed by coat
to pass on is at once absorbed by the skin.
farmers are so intelligent that umbrellas are black in color but in
villages they used to stitch white cloth over the black cloth on the
analogy of the structure of Ongole cattle i.e. white external coat
and black underlying skin.
During evolutionary process the body temperature has been increased,
at the same time tolerance for that temperature failed to take place
in male gametes. This was circumvented through effective thermoregulation
mechanism of tests.
Joshi, N.R., Phillips, R.W. (1953)
Zebu Cattle of India and Pakistan, FAO Agriculture Studies No. 19, Publ.
By FAO, Rome, 256 pp.
Dr. A. Madhusudhana, FA, Veterninary
Colony, Ring road. Ui Jayawada, A.P. Judia, Pin 520 008.
Dr. A. Madhusudhana, FA, Veterninary
Colony, Ring road. Ui Jayawada, A.P. Judia, Pin 520 008.