Ankole Cows the local cows reared in parts of Mbarara Isingiro, Ibanda, Ntugamo, Bushenyi and Kiruhura located in western Uganda. The e cows are known for their distinctive horns that can reach up to 2.4 m from tip to tip. The horns are used by cows for defense purposes. The mature cows have live weight ranging from 410 to 730 kg. The cows mainly eat grass and leaves with supplement of local salt and are grazed in open grazing areas. Ankole cows were traditional reared were by moving from one place to another looking for good pastures and water.
The weight of the newborn calves’ ranges from 14 to 23 kgs and this low birth-weight makes Ankole bulls useful for cross breeding with first-calf-heifers of other breeds.
History of Ankole Cow
The Ankole cows are known to have originated from Egypt where they reared for milk and meat. They reached Uganda through Ethiopia and they were crossed with the Zebu cattle from India to produce thee Sanga. The Sanga became the parent stock from which most African breeds originate. The Ankole cow therefore belongs to the Sanga family. The Sanga has the typical Zebu characteristics including pendulous dewlap and sheath, upturned horns and a neck hump of variable size. The Sanga varieties are found in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. The original Sanga cattle are still kept in Ghana and Zambezi regions.
Significance of Ankole Cattle
The Ankole cattle is significant for the following reasons
- It is source of food in terms of meat, milk and milk by-products
- Source of cash for the farmers.
- They are status symbol in society
- Used for traditional functions like payment of dowry
- It is the most valuable gift you can give someone.
- Skins from cows are used for clothing and decoration.
- Cow dung in used for banana plantations and smearing houses.
- Urine of cows and cow dung are believed by locals to contain medicinal values
- Horns are used for decorations and various purposes