An increasing number of backyards of ultra-rich families in the city is in the possession of a common asset these days: a special breed of cow — the Punganur dwarf cow — which originated in Chittoor district.
Considered among the world’s smallest breed of cows, the Punganur breed’s milk has a high fat content and rich medicinal properties.
Punganur is a dwarf dual-purpose cattle breed and mainly confined to the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. This breed was developed by Rulers of Punganur area and hence named after the area.
The breeding tract is confined to the taluks of Punganur and adjacent taluks of Vayalpad, Madnapalli and Palamaner in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is mainly maintained at Livestock Research Station, Palamaner, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, attached to Shri Venkateswara Veterinary University, Tirupati.
Some animals are also maintained by private breeders. It is white, grey or light brown to dark brown or red in colour. Sometimes, animals with white colour mixed with red, brown or black coloured patches are also seen. Well-noticed by its short stature, the breed has a broad forehead and short horns.
The horns are crescent-shaped and often loose curving backward and forward in males and lateral and forward in females. Known for draught resistance, it can thrive well on dry fodder feeding. The bullocks are used for agricultural operation in light soil as well as for driving carts for transportation and special races. Average milk yield of the breed is 546 Kg per lactation (ranging from 194 to 1100 Kg) with 5% average milk fat.
Perhaps, this is why the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has about 200 Punganur cows in its cattle-yard. Ghee prepared from the milk of these cows is being used in ‘archana’ (offering) for Lord Venkateswara.