General information

All about the red steppe breed of cows


The red steppe breed of dairy cows is defined as one of the best in the post-Soviet space. The animals are perfectly adapted to the dry climate of the steppe zones. In terms of numbers in the world livestock breed, the fourth and second breed on the territory of Ukraine and Russia. Cows of this breed can be found in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, in the Caucasus.

The history of breeding dates back to the 18th century. At that time, animals on the vast steppes grazed animals extremely hardy, but with low productivity. Geographically, these are the southern regions of Ukraine, more precisely, the Zaporizhzhya region. It is symbolic that such a breed was born on the banks of the Molochnaya River.

To increase the milk yield, it was necessary to add high-tide blood to the blood. Red steppe breed of cows (photo in the text) has a controversial origin. Experts are united in only one thing - imported cattle took part in the creation. There are several versions of the origin:

  • The method of absorption cross-breeding and partly reproductive Great-Russian and gray Ukrainian breeds (both local) with red German cattle was applied,
  • it is a local aboriginal breed, formed about 150 years ago and called the “red colonist” or “red German”, it received its name from its owners of the German colonists,
  • it is a cross between swiss and franconian cattle,
  • it is a cross between other animals, the tronders and the angels,
  • This is a difficult breeding of gray local Ukrainian cattle, first with the red Ostfryzsland, and then with the Angel, Wilstermarch and some other European breeds.

Obtained by the beginning of the 19th century, an array of fairly uniform livestock bred "in itself." The breed was registered in 1923, it began to be bred in the breeding farms of the former USSR. The red steppe breed of cows in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus in terms of the number of livestock does not fall below third place.

Tribal work

Creating and further improving the breed hard work. It is inextricably linked with the socio-economic development of the state, and plays an important historical role. The red steppe breed of cows was no exception. Features breeding at the very first stages were as follows:

  • carried out the selection of milk production,
  • carefully selected animals on constitutional grounds,
  • after birth, calves were immediately taken away and distributed cows without a baby,
  • the settlers were convinced of the close relationship between productivity and color (it was believed that cows of red and reddish brown color give large yields), and cows were also selected on this basis.

The result of a long (more than 100 years) selection in certain climatic conditions was the creation of a pedigree group of steppe durable red dairy cows with a characteristic exterior and relatively high productivity.

Mass mechanization of the milking process required an improvement in the livestock according to the criteria of the udder shape and an increase in milk yield. In the 60s of the twentieth century, cows of the red steppe were winged by an Angler bulls. The choice of these animals is not accidental:

  • First, the breeds have related genetics,
  • secondly, they have a similar type of metabolism,
  • thirdly, they have the same direction of productivity,
  • fourthly, the Angler individuals possess high milkiness, a large percentage of fat content in milk, a greater body weight, and most importantly, a better adaptability to machine milking.

Subsequently, blood was added to the Danish breed. In the 90s, three breeds gave milk yield up to four and a half thousand liters of milk with fat content of 3.82%. Not the last role in the formation of the current appearance of animals played Holstein. Each breed left its mark:

  • red steppe cattle - endurance and adaptability to conditions of detention,
  • Anglers - udder manufacturability and a high percentage of fat,
  • "Danes" - long-term use and high yields,
  • Holstein - a large live weight, improved udder shape, adapted to machine milking.


Today, animals are considered among the best in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. What is a red steppe breed of cows? Characteristic:

  • Bred in the 18-19 centuries in Ukraine,
  • type of productivity - milk,
  • have a dry build, strong constitution,
  • live weight of bulls - up to 900 kg, cows - 400-500 kg,
  • calves weight at birth: heifers - 27-30 kg, gobies - 35-40 kg,
  • average yield per breed - 3 500-4 000 kg (in pedigree producers - 4 500-6 000 kg), with a fat content of 3.5%,
  • economic use - 4,74 lactation,
  • The age of a chick reaches 18 months, with a live weight of 320-350 kg.


Red steppe breed of cows in milk production is considered good. The average yield per breed is from 3,500 to 4,000 kg of milk. Breeding farms have higher rates: milk yield on average from 4,000 to 5,000 kg, record-breakers are capable of producing up to twelve thousand liters of milk, fat content can reach 5%.

The yield depends on the quality of pastures and the duration of the pasture season. The best performance is achieved in the steppe zone. Animals are fertile, for three years from one female you can get four offspring. The break between calving is a little over a year (380 days). To prevent bovine cows run from 40 to 60 days.

The meat quality of the breed is low, the slaughter yield does not exceed 50%. In case of purposeful fattening of young stock, the rate of meat output increases, but very slightly. The skeleton of the animals is light, with poorly developed muscles. To grow such cows for meat is not economically profitable.

Typical external signs characteristic of dairy animals, has a red steppe breed of cows. Exterior Description:

  • height at withers - 127-132 cm
  • chest circumference –183-190 cm
  • slanting length - 154-160 cm,
  • circumference of the metacarpus - 18-19 cm
  • Suit from light red to dark cherry, white markings are permissible,
  • musculature undeveloped,
  • trunk angular, elongated,
  • the neck is dry, narrow,
  • head is light, slightly elongated,
  • the back is long and flat
  • legs are strong, dry,
  • chest narrow, deep,
  • udder of medium size, glandular.

The red steppe breed of cows is distinguished by unpretentiousness and fast adaptation to environmental conditions. Animal maintenance:

  • Summer period The best option is free grazing on pastures. Location - within 2 kilometers of the farm. They are equipped with canopies and watering. Often practiced summer camps, with milking points.
  • Winter-stall period. Animals are kept in barns with tethered or loose housing. Conditions must comply with the standards of zoohygiene.
  • Feeding. On the pasture must make sure that the animals have enough food, if necessary, feed the roots and feed. In winter, the basis of the ration is hay, feed, straw is added, silage (no more than 25% of the total ration) and root crops are used as succulent fodder, and mineral supplements are necessarily included.
  • Disease prevention. Vaccinated against infectious diseases.
  • Care. Contaminated wool is periodically removed from animals, with each milking the udder is thoroughly washed, before the grazing period, the horns and hooves are trimmed.


Animals of this breed are also kept in private farms throughout the post-Soviet space. It is especially popular in the steppe zones of Ukraine, Kazakhstan in the Altai, southern Russia. The red steppe breed of cows (reviews of the owners pay attention to it) is very hardy and perfectly adapts to various climatic conditions. Calmly endures dry summer and hot weather.

Of the features of the breed especially noted:

  • powerful immunity saves animals from the scourge of dairy farming - leukemia,
  • quick acclimatization
  • unpretentious content,
  • excellent endurance
  • good responsiveness to improved housing and feeding,
  • high nutritional and taste qualities of milk.

According to the names of the offspring existing today in the breed, one can judge the degree of popularity of the breed: Ukrainian, Kuban, Kazakh, West Siberian, Kulundai (Altai).

Over the past half century, several dozen record-keeping cows have been registered with the following indicators:

  • for lactation of more than 10,000 kg –14 heads,
  • for lactation 9000-9999 kg - 32 heads.

Milk fat content was at least 3.69%. The bulk of this herd is grown in breeding plants of Ukraine and Kazakhstan. It is not uncommon for cows in herds of such farms to have a milk yield of 6000 kg. Red steppe breed of cows boasts amazing record-breakers:

- milk yield - 10 170 kg,

- economy - the collective farm “Proletarsky wrestler”, Zaporizhia region, Ukraine.

- milk yield - 10 497 kg,

- farm - breeding plant them. Kirova, Kherson region, Ukraine.

- yield - 11 100 kg,

- farm - breeding plant "Severo-Lyubinsky", Omsk Region, Russia.

- yield –12,426 kg,

- farm - breeding plant "Karaganda", Karaganda region, Kazakhstan.


Red steppe breed was originally formed in the steppe zone, that is, arid climatic conditions. It is based on domestic breeds and Ostfristland cattle. Homeland - the southern region of Ukraine. The types of crosses that were used in the course of selection are absorption and reproductive. The active distribution of the red steppe breed from Ukraine to other regions began in the second half of the 19th century. In the new conditions were carried out the next crossing, which led to the emergence of different offspring, breed groups. One thing is for sure - the red steppe cattle are perfectly adapted to the steppe climate and scarce forage resources.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the red steppe cow was the most popular in the Kuban, in the Crimea, Ukraine and the foothills of the Caucasus.

Bulls of the red steppe breed can grow up to 900 kg, and cows - up to 400-500. Newborn calves weigh up to 40 kg, chicks up to 30 kg. By six months, youngsters can reach 200 kg (subject to proper feeding). Color animal reddish, but the intensity of the shade can be different - from fiery-red to dark cherry. Just like the Krasnogorbatovskaya breed of cows. Some individuals from birth have white specks (usually on the legs, head, udder). The main features of the direction are the elongated angular body.

Other breed characteristics:

  • weak thin bones,
  • straight strong legs
  • volumetric abdomen
  • deep narrow chest
  • insufficiently formed dehydration,
  • slim long pleated neck
  • raised mane.

The breed's udder is small and round, but for many females it develops not quite right, or the parts are simply uneven.

The productivity of heifers depends largely on the climatic conditions of cultivation. For example, in the steppe regions every year, you can get 3-4 thousand kg or even increase this volume to 5 thousand kg, if you properly organize the care of livestock. Milk has a fat content of 3.8%.

Red breed refers to early maturity - it is inseminated at the age of 15-19 months. In terms of quantitative and qualitative indicators of productivity, it is slightly inferior to other dairy breeds. In Russia, red steppe cattle is the second most popular.

Pros and cons of breed

Consider the advantages of red steppe cows:

  1. They quickly and easily adapt to any conditions of detention. ideal for growing in hot climates. The main thing is to equip the forest edges and shelters on the pasture territory so that animals can hide in them from the scorching sun.
  2. Even under the condition of “modest” feeding, animals maintain a stable weight. and feed extra stocks.
  3. Animals are not afraid of wind, rain and other negative weather factors.
  4. Maternal instinct in females is well expressed, therefore, the farmer’s participation in growing young stock will be minimal.
  5. Immunity is good both in calves and in adults. Resistance to most diseases, respectively, is high.

Red steppe cows have a high resistance to leukemia - a disease that has a very negative effect on the milk productivity of animals.

Breed weaknesses:

  1. When machine milking females often develop mastitis, since the cups of the apparatus bend the nipples, which prevents the normal output of milk. Therefore, after milking, cows need to be massaged with an udder.
  2. Weak muscles and gentle bones are a common cause of animal injuries.
  3. Animals are lightweightaccordingly, you will not get much meat from them.


In order for a cow to constantly have milk, it must be inseminated once a year - this will be enough to maintain a constant lactation, increase milk yields, and increase the reproduction of livestock. Fecundity is the highest - about 100 calves per 100 cows. Calving is easy; human intervention is almost never required. Females show maternal instinct not only to their calves, but also to other herd babies.

Although calving of a breed is easy, be careful - females with congenital defects and acquired injuries can have problems.

To external climatic conditions, the red breed is unpretentious, but, like any other direction, requires competent care. If you do everything right, you can easily achieve calving up to 4 times in 3 years. For the cows, the so-called dry period is very important, when it rests without milking. If the animal is weak, poorly fed, the rest should last up to 70 days, 40-60 will be enough for healthy individuals. It is impossible to reduce the periods of dead wood, otherwise you can bring the matter to a reduction in productive yields, reducing the fat content of milk, the emergence of unviable young.

The pregnant calves are watered and fed three times a day (no longer needed), they carefully monitor the cleanliness of the litter. Do not give the animal spoiled or cold food, as this is fraught with the killing of the fetus. Old females should walk in the shed and in the air - this is necessary to reduce the risk of udder swelling.

Red steppe rocks have high resistance to both weathering conditions and a variety of diseases. For example, leukemia, which causes culling and slaughter of sick animals, they are almost not afraid, like most respiratory infections. But, despite endurance and a strong constitution, cows need to be vaccinated against anthrax, emkar, foot and mouth disease. From the gastrointestinal, pulmonary parasites, prophylactic treatments are carried out seasonally or as needed. Gadfly larvae and ticks need to be fought with due consideration of the situation - if you notice the appearance of gadfly larval capsules on your back, immediately process it.

This video describes and shows the characteristics of a red steppe breed cow.

The history of the Red Steppe breed

Homeland breed - southern regions of Ukraine. The creation of this direction of dairy cattle took place mainly by the absorption and partly reproductive crossing of the local Ukrainian sulfur with the imported Angeln, Ostfryzlyandskoy, Wilstermarch breeds.

Since the 70s of the XIX century. due to the migration processes of the population, the breed of the red German cow resulting from the crossing has spread from steppe Black Sea coast in the Kuban, Stavropol region, Kalmykia, the Volga region, the western regions of Siberia.

In the new natural forage conditions, there was a crossing with zoned breeds of cattle, as a result of which new offspring and breed groups appeared.

Finally developed type of dairy cow proved to be perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions of the steppe and scarce forage resources.

Nutrition and care

High adaptation properties breeds avoid the difficulties and significant material costs associated with the maintenance and care of animals. In the summer, the natural and most biologically valuable source of food is pasture.

Pasture grass has a beneficial effect on the physical condition and productivity of animals. In areas with particularly hot summers, despite the fact that cows of the red steppe breed are well tolerated by high temperatures, it would be nice to arrange shade on pastures.

For good lactation, drinking water should be clean, fresh and in sufficient quantity.

Spacious, bright, dry room without drafts with a temperature of 10 - 12 ° C is the best option for keeping cows in the winter.

For daily, except frosty days with temperatures below -15 ° C, walking you need to have a small area. Grooming consists of brushing and washing water on particularly contaminated areas.

As in other breeds, the need for nutrients in red steppe cows depends on the physiological state. In general, the main part of the winter diet is hay.

But, given the simplicity of animals of this breed in relation to the food supply, a third of the volume can be replaced with straw.

In the winter period, fodder varieties of root vegetables should become an indispensable part of the diet.

If gourds are added to the main feed, it is better to grind them.

Silage as the only source of food is undesirable: it can cause the birth of weakened calves.

In order to avoid violations of the energy processes in the body and vitamin deficiencies, animals should receive premixes - fillers with the addition of vitamin-mineral components, or multivitamin complexes. Especially important vitamins:

  • BUTregulating the work of the respiratory, digestive, urinary,
  • D, providing bone mineralization and prevention of rickets in calves,
  • Elaunching a number of important metabolic processes.

To compensate for the deficiency of sodium in plant foods, animals should be given salt.

Vaccination and disease prevention

Red steppe cows are especially resistant not only to stressful natural factors, but also to certain diseases, for example, respiratoryas well as to leukemiaresulting in culling and slaughter of sick animals.

Despite the strong constitution and endurance of these cows, vaccination against other major diseases of cattle is mandatory:

Preventive actions against ticks and gadfly larvae are carried out depending on the situation: the appearance of capsules with gadfly larvae on the back of animals, the presence of ticks on pastures.

Against the pulmonary and gastrointestinal parasites, the treatment of cows is carried out seasonallyas well as required.

Prospects for breeding

Naturally, the desire to improve the productive performance of any breed. Breeders for the red steppe while maintaining its high adaptive properties and endurance identified the main improving breeds:

  • red-speckled Holstein,
  • angler,
  • red danish

The goal was to keep:

  • high milk fat content and good anglers,
  • abundant milkiness and the possibility of long use from red Danish cattle,
  • better quality of the udder, greater live weight and the possibility of high yields from golshtinok

High acclimatization ability of the breed should be considered primarily as a positive factor for livestock work in regions with a hot, arid climate.

Unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention does not mean poverty and imbalance of the diet in this case. Proper maintenance of animals, their good responsiveness to improved feeding will ensure a high payment of feed received milk and decent quality dairy products.