Apart from loads of birds and insects that visit Vanapa and live there, we also have few other animals here. We 3 adorable dogs (Names : Mani, Basha & Ladoo), 5 Chickens (unnamed), 50 Cattle.
We have 3 different cattle breeds at Vanapa : Gir, Kangayam & Punganur
This certainly was a challenge. Among a lot of things we discussed about what we should do and have at Vanapa, we were sure about having few cattle in the farm. Deciding on the breed was a big challenge, none of us had the required experience or the knowledge about caring for these animals. In all that we do at Vanapa, we try to be as local as possible. Like planting only the native plants and trees, this way we were sure that these plants and trees would find it easy to adapt and we did not have to do anything extra.
There was something additional we had to think about when it came to Cattle. About 5 decades back, in India we had more than 100 different breeds and today we have less than 50 and struggling to hold on. So we decided to work towards conserving at least one breed. Kangayam (Breed) is among the many breeds in Tamilnadu which are struggling to find a home and their numbers too are coming down at a fast rate, we decided on Kangayam and set out to find a good pair. Deciding on a breed is easier not finding them. We did travel a lot trying to find a good pair but it wasnt easy and to make it worse we did not have a good guiding hand who had the knowledge of this breed. So there we hit a road block.
We then began to gather a lot of information about different breeds in India, that when we came across this breed ‘Gir’, again a breed that is on the decline, what fascinated us was that Gir is a very docile breed and at the same time a good Milking breed, for beginners like us Gir seemed to be a perfect breed to start with. Once we decided on the breed we also decided to gather enough knowledge about the breed and how to care for them. One of us set out to Gujarat to visit Gir farms and stay there and learn about the breed, it took us few months of knowing them and watching the way they were being cared for, understanding their characteristics, feeding patterns etc before we got a hang of this breed and we were ready to bring them home. That’s how Gir happened.
We initially got 2 of them, and the more we got comfortable with them and they got comfortable with us, we gradually increased the numbers and we have close to 50 of them at Vanapa.
By the end of 2016, we had 3 Kangayams at Vanapa. 2 heifers and a bull calf. The story of how Kangayam reached Vanapa will surely bring about a smile.