Repository logo

Leonid Ochir-Goryaev, Evgeniy Dzhokhaev, About Animal Husbandry

Change log


Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 


Leonid and Evgeniy talk about their experience of animal husbandry. Leonid keeps cows, horses, sheep and camels. He says that traditionally sheep and camels were kept for their wool, among other things, and horses were used as a means of transportation. The life of a cattle breeder is difficult and not appealing to young people any more. Leonid says that horses are pregnant for 11 months, camels for 12 months, cows for 9 months, and ewes for 4 months. When animals give birth, cattle breeders look after them around the clock. Newborn lambs spend the first five days with their mothers in a barn, and then are allowed to graze together. When a ewe rejects her lamb, a small barking dog is brought into the barn in order to make the ewe defend her lamb, in this way bringing out her maternal instinct. Evgeniy says that in the past, sheep of selected breeds were kept separately in special farms and fed with special fodder. A breed of sheep with curly wool was imported to Kalmykia from Kazakhstan. When demand for curly wool decreased, Kalmyk breeders started to keep mixed sheep, including merinos that have a thin tail and delicious meat. The Kalmyk breed differs from others in the following respects. It has hooves that do not damage the ground and it has more fat. It is the second largest in the world in terms of body weight. Evgeniy contends that the only pure breed of sheep that exists in Russia is the Kalmyk one. All other breeds are mixed. Unfortunately, today the number of pure Kalmyk sheep is decreasing. Kalmyk cows are also well adapted to the harsh Kalmyk climate, are half-wild, and do not let people approach them. Kalmyk cows have horns in the shape of half-moon, short hooves and red skin. Leonid adds that in the past the Kalmyks did not heal sick cattle but slaughtered them. That is why only the strongest survived. Evgeniy supports Leonid’s point by saying that Kalmyk cattle went through natural selection on the way when the ancestors of Kalmyks moved from Xinjiang to the Volga region. Kalmyk bulls are territory-conscious, and they graze in distance from the herd, thus protecting their territory.



Animal husbandry, animals, rituals, natural selection

Is Part Of


Publisher DOI

Publisher URL

Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.