This study was undertaken in order to characterize the Ponwar breed and to establish its present status so that suitable breeding strategies and conservation models could be suggested for the overall improvement of the breed.
The Ponwar is a draught cattle breed and is native to the Pilibhit District of Uttar Pradesh. The breeding tract lies between latitude 28°4' and 28°8' North and between longitude 79°0' and 80°4' East. The coat colour of these animals is brown or black with white patches in varying proportions. The tail switch is white in black animals and black in those having a greater proportion of white patches. The body is small, compact and non-fleshy, the face is small and narrow and the ears are small. The horns are small to medium and curve inward with pointed tips. The hump is small in females and developed in males. The tail is long and reaches to below the hock. Cows have small udders and teats. The animals of this breed possess an aggressive temperament.
The milk production of the Ponwar cows is low, i.e. about 0.5 to 2.5 kg per day for a lactation period of 8 to 10 (average 8.9±0.1) months. Lactation milk yield averaged 462.5±12.1 kg. The age at first calving ranged from 40 to 60 months and the inter-calving period averaged 12.6±0.1 months. The service period in Ponwar cattle varied from 60 to 100 days. The cows remained dry for average of 110.0±2.6 days. Bullocks of this breed can transport an 800 to 1 000 kg load up to 10 kilometres easily. They can plough 0.4 hectares of land in a day working for 6 to 8 hours. Body length, height at wither and heart girth in adult cows averaged 97.1±0.5, 109.0±0.4 and 140.6±0.5 cm, respectively. The animals recorded in the different villages had similar average body measurements corresponding to their category. The survey revealed that about 21% of total cattle population was of Ponwar breed in Puranpur Tehsil. The approximate Ponwar population in the entire breeding tract was estimated as 10 667.