Taylor cows of Patna, India
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The Taylor Cows in India

Taylor Cows of Patna
By B.N. Sinha. Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, Khagaul, Patna (The Indian Veterinary Journal 1951)

The origin of what are known as Taylor breed of cows dates as far back as 1856, when on William Taylor, the Commissioner of Patna Division, started an Industrial Institution by raising funds from the public. There was to be a breeding establishment of cattle, sheep and pigs as a section of this Institution. With this idea in view, this gentleman obtained four English bulls, each of which cost him as much as Rs. 600/-. The animals were very magnificient. There is no definite information as to the exact history or breed of these bulls. A close study, however, of the physical conformation of their progeny leads one to surmise that they were probably of either Jersey or Guernsey origin, as the features of these animals are more akin to them than to any other English breeds. It is said that these imported animals were the progenitor of the existing herd of the cross-bred cattle found in Patna. The Industrial Institution, however, could not survive through the troublous time of 1857. Taylor, however, retained the bulls with himself, and, after settling in Patna, started a small cattle farm at Lohanipur (a mohalla of Patna). He used these bulls for breeding purposes and hired their service to the local people on a stud fee of Rs. 20/- per service. The local goalas did not appreciate the value of the service of so costly a sire in the beginning, but later on when a number of crossbred cows with high-yield passed into their hands, they promptly recognised the benefit of maintaining such animals They have been since then continuing this crossbred strain without any aid or guidance from any quarters. In about 1900, the Patna District Board imported two bulls of high milk strain from Australia in order to revive the degenerating stock. These bulls, however, did not perform any service and died after only a few days of their arrival. The goalas nevertheless, cintinued to maintain the strain through the degenerated bulls of the local and other cross-bred stock. The Patna District Board again purchased a few Montgomery bulls and stationed them in the Veterinary Hospital for breeding purposes. These bulls along with other non-descript bulls further contributed to the inter-mixing of varied characters leading to the production of mongrel stock of the present time.
The main results of this cross-breeding has been the breeding out of the hump which is one of the characteristics of the Indian Zebu, and improvement in milk producingcapacity in the cows, whose yield ranged from 16 to 28 lbs of milk per day. The male stocks, however, are delicate and cannot stand the heat or hard labour in deep water and mud on the paddy fields, altgough they are often used on good roads in bullock carts. The main drawback of this stock, however, lies in its increased susceptibility to tropical diseases like rinderpest and foot and mouth disease.

Taylor Cow  [ World Animal Review nr.11 1974]

A brief description of the breed
The breed, for a number of years, had been localised within the Patna town area and its suburbs. It has, however, now gradually penetrated in the neighbouring villages and in certain cases even in the remotest part of the country side. The animals do not seem to hrive well outside Patna. It is perhaps due to extreme care and attention paid to them by the vendors in Patna.

The cows are mostly adopted to stall-feeding, because the town provides no facility for grazing. But on account of their high milkyield, cows have been very much popular with the milk traders, who carry on trade in milk supply. Therefore, majority of the cows are rared and maintained by them. A fraction of the total strength of cow is, however, also maintained by private individuals for their domestic needs.

General conformation: Due to considerable mixing of various breeds, it is not possible to define the breed, because wide variations are noticed both in performance and physical features. However, there are cetain common features which are narrated below. They are of medium size, the average female in milk weighing 750 lbs and the male 900 lbs. The body is disproportionate,  the head being comparatively narrow and small in comparison to the body. The look is impressive, the gait light, easy and slow. The animals are mostly docile in temperament.
The main characteristics of the breed are the absence of hump and dew-lap. The horns are short and thin and are directed forward, upward and then inward.
The colour is extremely variable, ranging from grey to various shades including spots and Zebra marks. The more common is, however, complete red, black or mottled white and red.
The head is small, narrow and tapering.
The forehead is narrow and almost flat or concave with a very shallow gradual depression in the centre. It is widest just above the eyes and narrow between the roots of the horns. The crest is absent and crest line is straight between the roots of the horns.
Face is broad above and tapering below with hollow temples. The muzzle is narrow with well developed nostrils. The bridge between the nostrils is straight or very slightly dished.
Eyes are small and give a peculiar sleepy expression. The muscular folds above eye-lids are prominent.
Ears are small, almost rounded with a blunt lip and alert.
Horns are thin, small and directed forward, upward and inward. The same thickness continues throughout the whole length with very slight or absolutely no tapering. The end is blunt.
The neck is short, thin and in a straight line with the body.
Dewlap is rudimentary , thin and free form any muscular fold but slightly more developed in bulls.
The chest is narrow above, but deep and capacious below.
The legs are well proportioned and muscular with shoulders merging well into the body. Upper arm fairly long and elbow subdued. Knee well developed and round. The shanks straight and the fetlock joints strong. The pastern is short and the digits set apart. The hoof is black and of medium size.
Barrel is deep, short and rounded. In females the portion is narrow and light, and the rear portion wide, heavy and bulging. In males the rear portion is comparatively light and narrow.
The back is straight and long, merging in level with the withers.
The ribs are strong, well set and more curved in the lower two-third.
The navel-flap is absent in females or rudimentary. The sheath in male is not pendulous.
The hindquarters are practically in line with the forequarters in both the sexes.
The loins are broad and straight and hips flat and wide.
The rump broad and sloping, the pin-bones well apart in females.
The flanks are broad and deep.
Thighs are muscular, flat and wide. Buttocks well developed and muscular. The twist is strong and very less arched.
The tail is rather long, the switch is black and reaches upto lowerthird of the shank.
The hocks are strong and are curved in females than in males.
The udder is well developed but not pendulous. Teats are of medium size and are set apart. The milk vein is prominent.
The skin is of medium thickness and elastic. Hairs are fine and of varied colour. The escutcheon is comparatively broad.
The breed is genetically hetregeneous containing blood of English, Sahiwal, Hariana and local breeds. The characteristics described above are on the basis of survey and study of only such animals which apparently show more features of the English breeds.

Present position: .. Due to the absence of any breeding policy and absence of suitable male stock for upgrading, the breed is gradually deteriorating. The breeding is most indiscriminate, and haphazard. A large number of crossbred bulls of this heterogenous stock are maintained by private persons for breeding purposes, who allow service on a fee of Rs 2 to 5 per cow. The majority of these individualsbelong to a class or caste of people known as Nats - a wandering  tribe. A few of the Gowlas and Gaushalas are also maintaining such bulls resulting in further mixing and deterioration. The Nats make a good living out of these bulls earning as much as Rs 10 to 16 per day from eah bull. As the male stocks are unsuitable for hard and laborious work, they are available at comparatively much cheaper rates and hence the Nats find it easy and financially convenient to purchase and maintain them.
The cows receive better treatment fo their high milk yield. The average daily yield varies from 6 to 8 seers of milk, though individual performance even now goes upto 14 seers.
It has been a common notion that the milk of this breed is infeior in quality specially in respect of its fat content. The analysis of a representative number of samples, however, utterly contradicts this notion. It has been found on the basis of analysis of nearly 19 samples of milk, collected from different cows at various stages of laction that the minimum fat percentage has in no case gone below 3.2 the maiximum being 12&, the average for 19 samples worked out at 5.3% which certainly compares well with the fat percentage of any of the local breeds.

From the analysis records, it is apparent that fat content, on an average, is rather a little higher than the average standard of the cows milk, and so are the other constituent except the milk sugar which is slightly less than the standard average. The water percentage comes to 85-86 which is less than the standard; this is because the total slids percentage has gone a bit higher than the standard. In short, on the basis of these findings, the milk of this breed cannot be said to be of inferior quality in respect of any of its constituents.

NB: Lactose, protein and ash have been calculated by formulae and they are only approximate and not exact.

Scope of improvement: Though the breed has degenerated much, still it has a great potentiality for milk production. There is ample scope to exploit this breed by judicious breeding and improving their milk producing potentially. Though complete data are not available about the total strength of this breed as no census appears to have been ever taken, yet from the enquiry it appears that there are nearly 1500 cattle in Patna town alone, axcluding approximately 1000 in the neighbouring villages. Selected cows ou of this lot, containing more of the original blood, can very well form a nucleus of a dairy herd, suited mostly for the town, if breeding is done by introducing some fresh blood of the original strain and carried out under expert hands. The males should be castrated and scrupulously prevented form procreating till they come to a stage containing nearly 15/16 th of blood of the original strain. If controlled breeding under proper guidance is undertaken, there is no reason why the mmilk producing capacity of this breed cannot be improved. The improved milk production will solve the problem of milk demand of Patna town, which is a chronic sufferer in respect of proper milk supply.
In order to improve this breed, the Animal Husbandry Department, Bihar, proposes to tak e up the following course of action:
1. About half a dozen English bulls, preferably of Jersey breed, would be imported and maintained by the Government in different parts of the town. The services of these bulls would be free but allowed only to approved cows, which have been previously marked for identification and admitted for breeding. This out-crossing would have to be continued till the progeny comes to contain 15/16th blood of the sires used. After this stage is reached, it would not be necessary to contine out-crossing, but breeding will have to be done very cautiously as throwing of undesirable characters may happen and if not controlled by expert haands, degeneration may begin to set in.

2. The use of Tharparkar bulls or their semen by artificial insemination method to cows of this breed would be forthwith stopped.

 3. Pending arrival of fresh English bulls, the breeding would be allowed through the best available Taylor bulls only.

4. All the stray and nondescript private bulls would be castrated or withdrawn from the town.

 

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