Livestock Breeding - Cattle

This collection hosts videos of cattle and interviews with Kalmyks who talk about cattle breeding.

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Zurgan Lidzhieva, About the Kalmyk breed of cows
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-04-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Babaev, Andrei; Kovaeva, Bair; Churyumov, Anton
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nikolai Mandzhiev, About livestock breeding
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Koldaev, Tseren
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, Leonid Ochir-Goryaev, Livestock branding
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Gedeeva, Darina; Ubushieva, Bamba; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, Andrei
  • ItemOpen Access
    Erdni Badmaev, Arkadiy Natyrov, Kalmyk cows
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-07-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumova, Elvira
  • ItemOpen Access
    Viktor Sandzhiev, about the Kalmyk breed of livestock
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-06-16) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Churyumov, Anton
    Viktor says that a brother of his maternal grandfather bred camels. When Kalmyks were deported in 1943, all Kalmyk sheep were sent to Kazakhstan where they were inter-bred with the local species. Kalmyk sheep are cold resistant and give birth on the snow. A mature ram may weigh up to 100 kilograms. Yustinskiy rayon of Kalmykia is known for its Kalmyk breed of horses. Kalmyks also have a native dog species called bankhar which is not afraid of wolves.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Vasiliy Sukhotaev, about how to graze livestock
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-05) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton; Sandzhiev, Artur
    Vasiliy says the following: When shepherds release their livestock into the pastureland, first they let out cattle and then small animals. The reason for this is simple: if they release sheep first there won’t be much left for cattle to eat. Sheep eat grass to the root, while cows only tear the top. Once I saw two male camels fight with each other. In was in spring, and the camels got locked into each other. There were many men around, but noone dared to approach the beasts. One camel broke the jaw of the other. Since it would not have survived and died of hunger anyway, the injured camel was slaughtered for meat.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sanal Bovaev, about the Kalmyk breed of livestock
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-04) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Sandzhiev, Artur
    Sanal talks about Kalmyk livestock: In Soviet times, in Kalmykia people raised mainly merino sheep. Later people began to keep the Kalmyk breed of sheep which has a round-shaped tail that may weigh up to 20 kilograms. The Kalmyk breed of horses does not have beauty or elegance, but it is a strong and hardy kind. Kalmyk cows are also good for meat. Their beef is delicious and they give about 3 liters of milk.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ivan Tserenov, about the Kalmyk breed of cattle
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-04) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Bembeev, Aleksandr
    When we returned from Siberian exile, there were few cattle left in Kalmykia. On our state farm we kept the Red steppe species of cows. From the late 1990s, we began to breed Kalmyk cows which have stronger bones, a wide forehead, curved horns in the shape of a half-circle, and longer wool. Even during a strong wind, Kalmyk cows do not look down but keep their head up. They are well suited to the steppe environment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Video of Cows and Bulls
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-04-18) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Babaev, Andrei
    This video shows Kalmyk bulls, cows and calves videotaped in the Tselinniy rayon of Kalmykia in March 2016.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Galina Mamonova, About How Animals were Marked
    (Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-10-28) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr
    Galina recalls how in her childhood Kalmyks marked their livestock. It was done as follows: A long piece of iron rod with a brand on one side was heated iron-red and applied on the animal’s skin. Another way of marking animals was to cut their ears in certain ways.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Purvya Volod'kina, About Nomadic Life in the Past
    (2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Okonov, Andzhur; Churyumova, Elvira; Okonov, Andzhur; Seleeva, Tsagan
    Purvya talks about how nomads lived in the early 20th century. This is her story: In October families stayed on low grounds, since it was warmer this way for their livestock. In spring after Tsagan Sar all families moved up to higher grounds. People stayed in each pastureland for up to 10 days so that their livestock did not finish off the grass. People nomadised by following their animals. I lived in a nomadic tent until 1938 in a place called Lola where there was also a stationary sanatorium housed in white buildings. Those buildings belonged to Duke Gari Balzanov. My parents worked for him. When the Duke was sent to exile, our family moved in to live in a wooden communal house. We milked mares and made kumis for guests. Men wore leather trousers or white cotton trousers. They would clean their greasy hands on their leather trousers and laugh at how shiny their trousers became. As far as I remember, the Kalmyks did not prepare fodder for their animals in winter. The livestock found grass from underneath the snow. Today people prepare fodder. The Kalmyk steppe is wide. People nomadised in tents. When the wealthy people were expropriated and sent to exile, the number of sheep went down. When there are no sheep, there is no felt around. Having no felt to cover their tents, people started to build wigwam-like structures. People lived in dugouts. They put a brick stove in the middle of the room.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Petr Eldeev, Kalmyk Cattle
    (2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumova, Elvira; Churyumova, Elvira
    Petr is a senior herdsman at the Aduch farm. He has been working on his farm for ten years. His father was also a herdsman, and Petr looked after cows when he was a child. In his farm Petr keeps cattle of Kalmyk breed which, he says, are cold-resilient, healthy, not afraid of wolves, and do not run away from their pastureland. Kalmyk cows have red skin, round-shaped curved horns, and delicious meat. Grown-up cows may weigh up to 700 kilograms, and bulls up to a ton. His cows graze in pasture all year around, and calves spend the first five months with their mothers. After that they are separated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, Signs of Disease in Animals
    (2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Babaev, Andrei; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, Andrei
    Evgeniy says that if an animal stretches its body in the morning, this means it is healthy. If it does not stretch, but presses its belly, releases sperm or walks slowly, these are signs that the animal is sick. Sometimes animals have infections and die quickly.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, How to Look After Sick and Weak Cattle
    (2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Babaev, Andrei; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, Andrei
    Evgeniy says that a traditional method of healing cows from worms is to hang an old shoe sole around their neck. One winter the snow storm lasted for 12 days, killing two calves and weakening the cattle. He gave hemp and rye flour mixed with sugar to the weakened animals, after which they recovered quickly.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ulyumdzhi Mandzhiev, Kalmyk Cattle
    (2016-04-28) Khabunova, Evdokia; Babaev, Andrei; Churyumov, Anton; Terbish, Baasanjav
    Ulyumdzhi says that the Kalmyk breed of cattle originates from Mongolia. In the 400 years that the Kalmyks have lived in Russia the Kalmyk breed of cattle has been gradually improved to adapt to the harsh Kalmyk climate and landscape with scarce vegetation and water. It is a strong breed and gains weight quickly in the summer, which helps it survive harsh winters. In terms of character, The Kalmyk breed is aggressive, stubborn and half-wild. Kalmyk cattle protect themselves from wolves with their horns. The meat of the Kalmyk cattle is also famous across Russia for its exquisite taste. This kind of beef is also known as mramornoe myaso (marble meat). Personally, Ulyumdzhi likes calf beef the most. Ulyumzhi also says that the fact that Kalmyk scholars managed to develop the Kalmyk breed into several sub-breeds gives him a great deal of pride. In Kalmykia horses are milked between April and May. During this period a horse can gain up to 2,5 kg in a single day. Like the Kalmyk cattle, the Kalmyk horses are also aggressive and protective of their young. When wolves attack, grown-up horses circle their foals and defend them with their hooves. Valery Bolaev, who is another participant in the interview, talks about the genetic characteristics of the Kalmyk breed of cattle. He relays a story of an American minister who visited the Soviet Union and supposedly said that there was only one thing that he wanted to buy in the country – a Kalmyk bull. The Kalmyk breed of cattle is popular across Russia. People buy it from as far away as Yakutia.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Tatyana Boskhomdzhieva, Well Wishes to Newborn Calves
    (2015-04-29) Churyumova, Elvira; Boskhomdzhiev, Mergen; Churyumova, Elvira
    When a cow gave birth, it was customary for its owners to invite old people into their house and offer them boiled foremilk. The quests were supposed to say the following: ‘Let the owners (of the calf) live in plenty Let the cows grow and multiply’. Then the calf’s forehead was smeared with the foremilk. The well wishes uttered to the calf were as follows: ‘Be safe from wolves and dogs Let no one steal you’.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sangadzhi Kononov, About Livestock Breeding and Kalmyk Culture
    (2016-12-23) Churyumov, Anton; Kovaeva, Bair; Terbish, Baasanjav
    Sangadzhi says that the traditions, lifestyle and folklore of the Kalmyks are closely connected to their livestock breeding practices. Not only was livestock treated with respect but nothing of animal origin was supposed to go to waste. Intestines, skin, etc. were all used in the nomadic household. Traditionally, the Kalmyks had a good knowledge of the anatomy and behavior of each animal, including sheep, horses, camels and cattle. Horses were used mainly as a means of transport. In the past all Kalmyks could ride from an early age. Each bone of the sheep has a name. By examining cracks on cooked blade bones nomads could tell many things about the sheep, including its health and place of origin. Blade bones are also used for divination. There is a custom in Kalmykia during weddings to give a sheep’s blade bone to the man who heads and represents the groom’s relatives. When given a blade bone that person is expected to crack it with his finger. Traditionally, each part of the sheep’s meat is given to specific groups of people. For example, legs should be given to your daughter’s children. The tail is given to the youngest child in the family. Sheep’s intestines were used to make a variety of dishes, including blood sausages. In Kalmykia camels are regarded as sacred animals. In contrast with sheep, camels give birth less often. Precious young calves were usually kept inside the yurt where people lived. Camel wool was used for making felt. Since it was very expensive, in the past only the wealthy could afford camel felt. There are many beliefs and rituals related to cattle (cows and bulls). Their pelt is used to make saddles, stirrups, boots, etc. Sangadzhi says that all Kalmyk traditions have a deep meaning and in this sense are similar to Buddhist philosophy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sanal Lidzhiev, About Cattle Breeding
    (2017-08-02) Gedeeva, Darina; Ubushieva, Bamba; Dovurkaev, Karu
    In his childhood Sanal helped his family look after their livestock that grazed in the countryside. In summer, he sometimes had to spend the night out with the animals. In the summertime, the animals were watered and then driven back to the steppe to graze for the whole day. Sanal thinks that horses, cows and camels are the most loyal helpers to herders. When young, he rode camels. Sanal recalls that riding camels was very comfortable – sitting in a warm place supported by the two humps.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Polina Fedorova, About Cattle Breeding in Siberia
    (2016-06-01) Gedeeva, Darina; Babaev, Andrei; Terbish, Baasanjav
    Polina lived in a yurt until the age of four and a half. They had two dogs that Polina loved to play with. Polina and her sister helped their mother and grandfather look after the livestock, while their father was away fighting the Nazis. During the deportation of the Kalmyk nation, Polina’s family managed to take a chest and a duvet with them. When the soldiers came to their house, Polina’s mother pleaded with them, ‘How am I supposed to feed the children and look after my father-in-law who has sent his three sons to the front?’ The Soviet officer took pity on her and ordered the soldiers to kill a sheep so that Polina’s family could take the meat on their journey. The family was exiled to Tymen’. When they arrived at the place of destination, three cattle carts full of Kalmyks were unloaded in Tyumen’ and the other four carts continued their journey on to Salekhard in Altai. At the Tyumen’ train station some Kalmyks jumped out of the carts by themselves, others were helped out. The train journey lasted from 29 December 1942 to 14 January 1943. Having spent more than two weeks on the train, Kalmyks were dirty and unwashed. At the Tyumen’ train station when they shook their clothes the snow underneath them turned black. At the station the exiled were sent straight to a gender segregated Russian sauna with cold floors. Since there was no soap, the people washed themselves with hot water only. There were a few men among them, either elderly or invalids who had returned from the front. The majority were women and children. After the sauna the Kalmyks were ordered to line up outside in the cold. Polina’s sister caught a cold. On their way to the village of Kulakovo, her sister died of lung inflammation. Upon their arrival, in the village Polina’s family received two cows, as her mother and grandfather had two different surnames: her mother’s surname was Indzhikova and her grandfather’s was Erendzhenov. But since they had nothing to feed the cows with, they were soon forced to give them up to the local kolkhoz. In the village Polina’s mother sewed military uniforms. Her grandfather did carpentry and helped people build fences. He also treated both sick people and livestock. As a fee he would receive food. Polina’s family did not go hungry, but they lived in cramped conditions, sharing a two-room house with five other families.