- 1 Introduction
- 2 Cow breeds
- 3 Benefits of Bos Indicus “Zebu” cows
- 4 Milking cow breeds
- 5 Cow & animal sheds
- 6 Cow’s pregnancy & heat cycles
The cows and bulls are a pivotal element in the vedic lifestyle. Not to long ago, even the poorest man would have 10 or 12 cows. Why? Because cows and bulls provide for many of the human needs, and without them the vedic lifestyle cannot be supported.
Pursuing the goal of living a simple life (independent from big corporations, in a peaceful rural environment) cows are extremely useful. Their dung and urine are of great value for agricultural and medicinal purposes. The bull comes as a great blessing when plowing, carts and hauling heavy loads.
The best diet for humans according to the vedic version, is a purely vegetarian one, in which cow products (ghee, cheese, yogurt, etc) are used extensively in the different dishes. On top of the many practical uses, the ghee and cow dung are used extensively in vedic rituals. Of all animals, cows have a special place because they are very dear to Kṛṣṇa.
There are two main cow breeds in the world today:
- Bos Indicus (Native from India, Zebu): Gyr, Ongole, Kankrej, Guzerat.
- Bos Taurus (Native from Europe): Jersey, Brown Swiss, Holstein, Belgian Blue.
Vedic scriptures always refer to Bos Indicus breed, and thus we recommend purchasing only pure breed indian origin cows.
Benefits of Bos Indicus “Zebu” cows
Zebu cows have unparalleled disease resistance which makes them easily maintainable and results in low input, low cost dairying. Today many countries cross breed zebu bulls to european breeds for this purpose. Since the diseases are less, medicines required are less and expenses are greatly reduced.
Skin is the major organ which helps in thermo regulation, water balance and protection. Worldwide climatic condition is changing so dramatically that european breeds cannot adjust to these variations. Zebu cows total skin area is greater – hump, dewlap, long ears, loose skin – which results in more sweating capability in extreme heat and better thermo-regulation.
Zebu breeds have more sebaceous glands in number, bigger in size and shape. These glands produce an oil secretion that protects the body from rain and parasites.
Zebu cows length of tail and switches are longer. The first bone in the series of tailbone is rudimentary so that it facilitates the tail to turn all around and can keep away flies. The long tail can reach to far extent of the body. To protect cows from these flies, this anatomical specialty is helpful.
The hooves of Zebu cows are hard, small and placed closely. This makes the bullocks to work in the field with ease. The soft hooves of european breeds are much more prone to fungal infections.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
The activity inside the body cells is gauged as Basal Metabolic Rate. In Bos indicus, BMR is very low. That is why low quality food in minimum quantity will allow the cow to carry on in hard times. When good food is available the body condition comes back to normal.
In Bos Taurus, the BMR is high. Best quality food in optimum quantity should be supplied throughout the life. When this is broken, the body condition goes down and never comes back to normal. Milk yield and fertility goes down permanently.
Bos Indicus bullocks have strong long bones, strong musculature. They possess good heat adopt ability and water holding capacity. They can work for long hours for ploughing the field and can pull the cart for long distances, without food and water. The hump gives extra support so that the cross bars of bullock cart does not slip back.
Everyone should be cautious regarding quality of milk rather than quantity. Although european breeds tend to produce more quantity, the quality of Bos Indicus breeds is superior. Vitamin B12 and other nutrients are available only in milk from Zebu cows (A2 milk).
Milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung when mixed is called Panchagavya. All mixed or some items alone are the best naturally available medicine. This mix can cure many diseases. It is also a very good pest repellent also.
Cow provides manure and urine which are essential for growing your own food organically without any chemicals and pesticides. Zebu cow dung has no foul smell, and it is much easier to handle because it is solid and not runny like european breeds.
In the past, cows where never killed for eating meat. Unfortunately, today slaughterhouses are prominent in many countries worldwide. According to vedic culture, cows must be protected and cared for and cow killing is very sinful.
When looking for milking cows, we always recommend Zebu cows only that are coming from a milking line. Traditionally Gyr breed is a very good milk producing cow.
Cow & animal sheds
According to the vedic understanding, all animals, like citizens, must be protected and cared for. Specially cows are not meant to be killed or injured in any way.
There are several auspicious animals that one can have, cows, peafowl, pigeons, ducks, swan, etc. All of them require some sort of protection/shelter. In the following videos we show you how to build simple sheds with bamboo.
Everyone should know well about bamboo, it is so useful! An abundant self-renewing source of wood. No need to wait 20 years for a tree to grow, just 3-5 years will give you plenty of bamboo year after year.
Bamboo supports the vedic lifestyle and it is used for low-cost animal sheds extensively.
Video – How to make a cowshed
Video – How to make a coop for small animals
Cow’s pregnancy & heat cycles
Video – Symptoms of cow in heat
Video – Symptoms of a pregnant cow