The Zalawadi goat breed is one native to India and raised for a variety of purposes.
The breed hails from the Rajkot and Surendranagar regions of the Gujarat state of India and it is the main breed of the area, called ‘Tara Bakari’ locally. They are a multi-purpose breed, raised for both milk, meat and fiber production.
It is not known the exact origins of the breed, though they are thought to originate from the former “Zalawad” region, now known as the Surendranagar district. This is where the breed gained its name, the Zalawadi. The Zalawadi goat now makes up approximately 27.8% of goat populations in the Surendranagar region, while they are also raised in other areas such as the Ahmadabad and Jamnagar districts, making them a very common breed.
The breed is usually reared by Rabaris/Bharwads, which are traditional shepherds who live in the Sourashtra region where rainfall is erratic and low. They are raised in flocks sizes from 15 to 100 goats, usually raised under extensive grassland management programmes.
A multi-purpose breed, the Zalawadi is reared for milk, meat and fiber production purposes.
They are small to medium in size, with long legs and a black coat. They are a horned breed, with both does and bucks found with twisted corkscrew-shaped horns, the primary characteristic of the breed. These horns are pointed in an upwards direction, with pointed tips.
Their coat, which is black, features long, shining hairs. While most forms of the Zalawadi breed are a solid black colour, some black and white variations can also found.
The breed have long, drooping ears, which sometimes feature white speckling. What is unusual, is that shepherds sometimes trim their “leafy” ears, as they sometimes split and are injured by thorn bushes.
As mentioned, they are raised not only for meat and fiber production but also for dairy purposes. Does are known for having large udders and are capable of producing up to 2kgs of milk per day! Some goats have been recorded producing 154kgs of milk per lactation period of five months.
Does usually have twins more often than not, with a birth rate of 55% for twins and 2% for triplets. The breed is very docile and some farmers even keep them as pets. At full maturity, the average body weight of a Zalawadi buck is 39kgs, with does slightly lighter at up to 33kgs.
A breed capable of surviving all climates and the arid, dry conditions of its native India, the Zalawadi is not only strong and powerful but also the goat of all trades. Milk, fiber and meat production, what more could a goat breeder want?